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Hamish Champ is the editor of PRW. When not doinghis day job he finds time to ride his motorcycle, listen to Deep Purple and take his 12 year-old son to the cinema/park/football/pub...

Plastic bits getting into beers?

Posted on 12 September 2014

The Germans are very proud of their beer and especially vigilant when it comes to what goes – or indeed what doesn’t go – into it when it’s being made.

They have this thing in Germany called the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ – literally means ‘purity order’ –  which dates back to the 15th century and demands that nothing other than water, barley and hops are used in the brewing process.

So the good burgers of Bavaria, where the reinheitsgebot originated from, would therefore be aghast – aghast I tell you – to read a study that said microplastic fibres had been found in a sample of German bottled beers obtained from local supermarkets.

The study, Synthetic particles as contaminants in German beers, written by Gerd and Elisabeth Liebezeit, is a detailed analysis of 24 different beers and the foreign contents found therein.

However before beer lovers everywhere start writing to the Daily Mail about how our favourite material has found yet another domain to pollute, the study suggests the amount of foreign material in a particular batch of beers depends on the conditions present during production, is not the fault of the plastics community (OK, the study doesn't say that exactly but I'm paraphrasing) and that the risk to human health appears to be minimal – well, from the effects of the plastic anyway.

And besides, microscopic bits of plastic aren’t the only problem; the researchers said that human skin sheds at the rate of one layer per day and skin scales as they are known in the trade can find their way through clothing to end up in all sorts of places, brewing vessels included.

And then there was the dead insect.


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