Just 24 hours after a blogger launched an online petition to see what exactly is in Anheuser-Busch beers, A-B InBev has published its ingredients for the first time. Vani Hari, a.k.a. Food Babe, started the campaign because there are so many things allowed to be in beer, but unlike drinks such as Coca-Cola, ingredients are not required to be listed. Food Babe got more than 43,000 signatures, which apparently prompted A-B to change its tune.
Hani posted a call for help on her blog Wednesday after contacting the two largest beer companies in the U.S., Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. She says they only gave her basic information about what's in their products.
I have to confess, my husband loves beer. So I had to figure out the truth. There is a long list of ingredients allowed in beer - like high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, stabilizers that are linked to intestinal inflammation, artificial colors, ingredients found in airplane deicing liquid, genetically modified ingredients, even fish swim bladders.
But, why are the ingredients not listed on the label? What's really in beer? Which brands can we trust to avoid these additives?
It was hard to figure out this information because the Treasury Department regulates beer - not the FDA - so beer manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors don't have to put the ingredients on the label - or on their website or tell us what's in the beer we are drinking and buying.
Thanks in part to all the social-media attention, Hani got a response from A-B today, and the company agreed to post ingredients for all products online in the coming days. There are a few up already here. Much to our relief, it doesn't seem like we have anything to worry about.
Right now all we know is that Budweiser and Bud Light contain water, barley malt, rice, yeast and hops. Sounds about right. We contacted A-B about Hani's requests, and received this official statement:
We are inviting Vani Hari and her husband to our flagship St. Louis brewery to show how our beers are made and the ingredients we use. Our brewmasters take great pride in making our beers to the highest standards of quality and consistency.
We provide significant information about our beer and their nutritional content through both our consumer hotline (1-800-DIAL-BUD) and our global consumer-information website www.tapintoyourbeer.com, which we have expanded over the years. This exceeds what is required of alcohol producers and is beyond what many other beer, wine and hard liquor producers provide. However, as American consumer needs evolve, we want to meet their expectations. Therefore, we are working to list our beer ingredients on our website, just as you would see for other food and non-alcohol beverage producers. We are beginning immediately, having incorporated this information earlier today on www.tapintoyourbeer.com for our flagship brands, Budweiser and Bud Light, and will be listing this for our other brands in the coming days.
Let's be real, though -- we were pretty much going to keep drinking Bud, fish-swim bladders or no. At least we can feel good about it now.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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