German Beers Found to Contain Traces of Weedkiller

By Mike Pomranz |

© Dan Herrick / Getty Images

German brewers are known throughout the world for following the Reinheitsgebot – known in English as the “German Beer Purity Law” – but a new study tries to claim beers from the European nation might not be as pure as we’d like to think.

The Munich Environmental Instituted tested 14 different brands of German beer for glyphosate, a chemical used in weedkillers. According to Bloomberg, Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment says the herbicide is safe, but the World Health Organization labels it as a carcinogen. Either way, the controversial compound turned up in all 14 beers tested to varying degrees.

The study put the German Brewer’s Association on the defensive, with the group calling the research “not credible” and stating that the use of the chemical has been so wide-spread for so long, it can be “found virtually everywhere.”

The association also stressed that even if the study was accurate, the findings don’t pose any real health risks. “An adult would have to drink around 1,000 liters (264 US gallons) of beer a day to ingest enough quantities to be harmful to health,” they said, according to RT. I’ll volunteer for that study.

For their part, the Munich Environmental Institute said they were most concerned about people’s overall exposure. “In absolute numbers, the level of glyphosate is low,” the institute was quoted as saying. “But it does contribute to the overall levels of chemicals consumers are exposed to – hops, barley and malt can be produced without using it.” I’m guessing most drinkers would agree: The only poison we want in our alcohol is alcohol!

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