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G634

1986e

COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

JACK BROOKS, Texas, Chairman DON FUQUA, Florida

FRANK HORTON, New York JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan

THOMAS N. KINDNESS, Ohio CARDISS COLLINS, Illinois

ROBERT S. WALKER, Pennsylvania GLENN ENGLISH, Oklahoma

WILLIAM F. CLINGER, JR., Pennsylvania HENRY A. WAXMAN, California

ALFRED A. (AL) MOCANDLESS, California TED WEISS, New York

LARRY E. CRAIG, Idaho MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma

HOWARD C. NIELSON, Utah STEPHEN L. NEAL, North Carolina

JIM SAXTON, New Jersey DOUG BARNARD, JR., Georgia

PATRICK L. SWINDALL, Georgia BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts

THOMAS D. (TOM) DELAY, Texas TOM LANTOS, California

JOSEPH J. DIOGUARDI, New York ROBERT E. WISE, JR., West Virginia

RICHARD K. ARMEY, Texas BARBARA BOXER, California

JIM LIGHTFOOT, Iowa SANDER M. LEVIN, Michigan

JOHN R. MILLER, Washington MAJOR R. OWENS, New York

BEAU BOULTER, Texas
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York

JOHN E. GROTBERG, Ilinois
JOHN M. SPRATT, JR., South Carolina
JOE KOLTER, Pennsylvania
BEN ERDREICH, Alabama
GERALD D. KLECZKA, Wisconsin
ALBERT G. BUSTAMANTE, Texas
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California

WILLIAM M. JONES, General Counsel
STEPHEN M. DANIELS, Minority Staff Director and Counsel

COMMERCE, CONSUMER, AND MONETARY AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE

DOUG BARNARD, JR., Georgia, Chairman JOHN M. SPRATT, JR., South Carolina LARRY E. CRAIG, Idaho JOE KOLTER, Pennsylvania

PATRICK L. SWINDALL, Georgia BEN ERDREICH, Alabama

JIM SAXTON, New Jersey ALBERT G. BUSTAMANTE, Texas

Ex OFFICIO

JACK BROOKS, Texas

FRANK HORTON, New York
PETER S. BARASH, Staff Director
THEODORE J. JACOBS, Chief Counsel
DONALD P. TUCKER, Chief Economist

STEPHEN R. McSPADDEN, Counsel

(II)

86-00142

CONTENTS

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6

Hearing held on May 28, 1986.............

Statement of:

Barnard, Hon. Doug, Jr., a Representative in Congress from the State of

Georgia, and Chairman, Commerce, Consumer, and Monetary Affairs

Subcommittee: Opening statement

Drake, William T., Deputy Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and

Firearms, Department of the Treasury, accompanied by John Man-

freda, chief counsel, Alcohol and Tobacco, and Bruce Weininger, Chief,

Industry Compliance Division....

Martini, John H., president, New York State Wine Grape Growers, Inc.

Naylor, Richard H., Naylor Wine Cellars, on behalf of the Wine Grape

Growers of America

Taylor, John M., Office of Enforcement, Office of the Associate Commis-

sioner for Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, Public

Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services, accompa-

nied by Robert Lake, Acting Director, Office of Compliance, Center for

Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Curtis Coker, Office of Compli-

ance, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Wessinger, Hugh J., Senior Associate Director, Resources, Community,

and Economic Development Division, General Accounting Office, ac-
companied by Kevin Donohue, Group Director, and Ralph Domenick,

Assignment Manager.....
Letters, statements, et cetera, submitted for the record by:

Drake William T., Deputy Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, Department of the Treasury:
Equipment needed for examining imported beverage alcohols for con-

taminants

Information concerning legal authority over contaminated wines..

Prepared statement.......

Submission to Congressman Horton's additional questions.
Horton, Hon. Frank, a Representative in Congress from the State of New

York: Information concerning toxicity of diethylene glycol
Lake, Robert, Acting Director, Office Compliance, Center for Food Safety

and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, Public Health
Service, Department of Health and Human Services: Information con-

cerning toxicity and health risk associated with DEG consumption

Mrazek, Robert J., a Representative in Congress from the State of New

York: April 16, 1986, article from the Wall Street Journal entitled

"What's in Wine? More Than You Might Imagine”.

Taylor, John M., Office of Enforcement, Office of the Associate Commis-

sioner for Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug Administration Public

Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services:

Prepared statement..

Response to question 8 in subcommittee's letter of invitation dated

April 16, 1986..

Submissions to Congressman Horton's additional questions.

Wessinger, Hugh J., Senior Associate Director, Resources, Community,

and Economic Development Division, General Accounting Office:

BATF Product Alert circular concerning methanol contamination in

Italian wines ......

Number of wholesale liquor dealers and importers..
Prepared statement with attachments ......

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APPENDIXES
Appendix 1.--Subcommittee's June 13, 1986, followup letter to BATF and

BATF's July 11, 1986, responses and relevant material.
Appendix 2.-U.S. Embassy cables and foreign government communications

with U.S. Government concerning contaminated wines
Appendix 3.—Relevant BATF material and documentation.
A. BATF's legal analyses on its statutory authority to require testing and

removal of wines for contaminants, and the Federal Alcohol Adminis

tration Act. B. BATF documentation: BATF product alert/industry memo in July

1985, sample label approval and actual label for wine containing

DEG, and memo on BATF task force
C. Thirteen BATF press releases announcing names of wines found to be

contaminated with DEG and BATF's December 1985 master list ....
D. Material relating to Riunite wine testing and removal and need for

additional BATF testing and laboratory resources..
Appendix 4:- Material concerning DEG toxicity and risk to health....
Appendix 5.-U.S. Customs Service's July 19, 1985, telex re: Detention of

Austrian wine ....
Appendix 6.-Miscellaneous material
Appendix 7.-BATF's August 1986 letter supplementing information in its

July 11, 1986, letter to the subcommittee...

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427 433

444 445

450

FEDERAL EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY AND REMOVE

CONTAMINATED IMPORTED WINES

WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 1986

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMERCE, CONSUMER, AND

MONETARY AFFAIRS SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1 p.m., in room 2247, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Doug Barnard, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Doug Barnard, Jr., and Ben Erdreich. Also present: Representatives Frank Horton and Robert J. Mrazek.

Staff present: Stephen R. McSpadden, counsel; Faye Ballard, clerk; Alexander B. Cook and Scott Fisher, minority professional staff, Committee on Government Operations.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN BARNARD Mr. BARNARD. The subcommittee will come to order.

Today the Commerce, Consumer and Monetary Affairs Subcommittee will examine the adequacy of Federal agency efforts to identify and remove contaminated wines, both imported and domestic, from the marketplace. In mid-July 1985, our Government first received reports of contaminated Austrian wines within the United States. Later, some German and Italian wines were implicated. In April of this year, there were a number of deaths in Italy reportedly caused by contaminated Italian wine. The purpose of this hearing is to determine how well the U.S. Government has responded to these recent events.

The subcommittee will hear from the General Accounting Office, which recently released a report, “Imported Wines—Identifying and Removing Wines Contaminated With Diethylene Glycol [DEG],” prepared at the request of the ranking minority member of the Government Operations Committee, Congressman Frank Horton, who is with us today.

The subcommittee will hear from senior officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), both of which have jurisdiction over contaminated wine-or presume to have. Finally, we shall hear from two representatives of domestic wine producers, who will talk about the standards they follow to assure the purity and safety of wine.

(1)

The responses by these two agencies to the diethylene glycol scare last year, involving primarily Austrian wines, and to the more recent methanol contamination, involving some Italian wines, constitute two case studies of the Federal Government's ability to identify, test, and remove wines contaminated by toxic substances. We will seek answers to the following questions raised by the GAO's report and its followup work:

Are BATF's and FDA's statutory authority adequate, particularly their authority to require importers and wholesalers of wine to test for, submit reports on, and remove harmfully contaminated wine?

Do BATF or FDA routinely test wines for harmful contaminants?

Did FDA, the primary and most experienced agency for recalling harmful food products, defer responsibility and not provide guidance to BATF, whose authority and experience are limited to the mislabeling of alcoholic beverages? If so, why?

Did BATF sufficiently focus its notification and identification efforts on the importers of Austrian wine, rather than on wine importers in general?

Did BATF rely excessively on importers and wholesalers to remove contaminated wine, and did it monitor or verify importers' and wholesalers' actions in doing so?

Did BATF treat the DEG scare more as a mislabeling issue than a health-related one, by focusing its removal efforts on numerous Austrian, German, and Italian wines rather than on the few brands of Austrian wine posing the most significant risk to health?

Have BATF's efforts to find methanol-tainted wines been effective, and how have these efforts differed from BATF's actions on the DEG contamination?

And, finally, we want to determine what steps BATF and FDA may be taking to develop new policies and procedures, as recommended by the GAO.

I am frankly concerned by GAO's conclusion BATF's actions did not provide a high degree of confidence that all DEG-contaminated wines, particularly those with high levels of DEG, were identified and removed from the market. This raises two overriding questions for this hearing: Are there a number of harmfully contaminated wines still sitting on retailer shelves or in wholesaler warehouses? And, what happens if there is a next time? Will FDA and BATF be better prepared in the future to meet any threat caused by imported contaminated wines?

We are delighted to have with us today the senior ranking Republican member of the Government Operations Committee, Congressman Frank Horton of New York, and, Congressman Horton, would you have an opening statement at this time.

Mr. HORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I want to express my appreciation to you for holding this hearing and, second, because I am not a member of this subcommittee, although I am an ex officio member, I do appreciate the opportunity to participate in this particular hearing.

At the outset also, Mr. Chairman, just so it is on the record, I have a couple of people that are friends of mine that are here and I would like to introduce them. They are not constituents, they are

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