Letters to the Editor

THURSDAY, JAN. 28, 2010

Be clear about beer

“Tobacco products are really the only human-consumed product we don’t know what’s in them,” says a Food and Drug Administration expert (S-R, Jan. 19).

False. Alcohol products, especially beer, have ingredients which the average consumer knows nothing about. For example, in beer there’s water, alcohol, hops and congeners. The beer makers tell us only that there’s alcohol in the bottle (5 percent of the total 12 percent). The congeners in the beer distinguish one brand of beer from another.

What are the congeners? Emulsifiers, clarifiers, coloring and flavoring agents. All of these are chemicals. The beer makers do not tell us what they are. They are “trade secrets.”

It is the congeners in the beer that are, for some, toxic. We may get sick from our beer consumption because of the chemical congeners in the beer (or wine or whiskey), not the alcohol.

How come booze purveyors are not required to tell us all of what’s in their products?

James J. Flynn


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