I have some AH-MAZE-ING news to share with you all today! As you may already know, my book The Food Babe Way is coming out in only 2 weeks. As a pre-order bonus in December, I sent out an advance copy of the chapter that I wrote about alcohol and all of the sickening ingredients that are permitted in beer, wine, and hard liquor – completely unlabeled. One of these ingredients is Caramel Coloring Class IV, a completely unnecessary ingredient that is linked to cancer in animal studies. I also mentioned this chemical in my 2013 investigation into beer, and in my 2014 petition to Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors asking them to publish all of their ingredients for the world to see (which has now gotten over 61K signatures).
This all began because there was Newcastle in my fridge…
The biggest reason that I decided to investigate the beer companies a couple years ago was that my husband likes to drink beer on occasion, and Newcastle was his favorite – although we had no clue what the ingredients were. This was the only thing in my fridge that I didn’t know what was in it and I thought this should change. After contacting Newcastle for the first time in 2013, they wouldn’t tell me all the ingredients, but I had this to say about them:
“Carcinogenic Caramel Coloring
Newcastle, a UK brand, confessed to using what I would consider one of the most controversial food additives. Toasted barley is usually what gives beer its golden or deep brown color, however in this case, Newcastle beer is also colored artificially with caramel color. This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creating carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice”.
This initial blog post went absolutely viral, with millions of page views. This breaking information that Newcastle uses caramel coloring spread like wildfire, and was getting a lot of attention.
All of this time, I have had ongoing communications with some beer companies, and they are updating me on any progress they are making. Soon after my beer investigation, the company that produces Newcastle (Heineken), reached out to me personally to confirm that they don’t use any genetically modified (GMO) ingredients in Heineken and Amstel Light. They also corresponded with me more recently during my beer petition to confirm that the ingredients in Heineken were listed on the bottles in some foreign countries (not in the U.S) and recognized the Food Babe Army’s work regarding Panera Bread:
“…By the way, saw the Panera headlines today in USA Today. You are driving an impressive agenda. Congrats on the many recent accomplishments (including, by the way, Dr. Oz, which I saw on TV last week or the week prior). Very exciting stuff and a testament to all of your hard work….”
The industry is listening to what we want and are making changes – whether they admit it’s because of us or not.
This all led up to this email that I recently received from my contact over at Heineken and couldn’t wait to share it with you!
“Happy New Year. I hope you’re well.
We traded e-mails last year. I heard you’re shortly publishing a new book. Congratulations! That is a big accomplishment.
I know you’ve been interested in Newcastle Brown Ale, as your husband’s former favorite beer. I wanted to make sure you knew that we have removed caramel coloring from Newcastle completely. (We are instead using roasted malt.) This change is working its way through our international supply chain now, which takes a bit of time. (Newcastle is brewed in the UK.) The change will be completed and effective in the marketplace in three to six months.
Might it be possible to reflect these facts in future publications including any potential information you’ve included in your book?
Many thanks and wishing you a happy & healthy new year,
Go, Food Babe Army, Go!
Thanks to all of you for spreading the word and sharing this information about what’s hiding in beer, as it’s really making a difference. This is proof that we are getting attention, the industry is taking notice, and changing as a result. We have been on the front lines campaigning that these beer companies disclose all ingredients and remove harmful additives like Caramel Coloring Class IV. No one else is doing this, and this is just the beginning.
I find it interesting that a different corporate spokesperson from Heineken USA told the USA Today on 1/26/2015 that they didn’t make the change because of me specifically – but rather all of us! Every voice matters. Sharing posts works! Usually companies don’t like to give credit where credit is due.
The Food Babe Way isn’t even out yet and it’s already making changes!
In The Food Babe Way chapter about alcohol, I catalogue several beers and what they contain. As Heineken is removing caramel coloring from Newcastle, I will be making an update in the next printing of my book to include this wonderful new information.
Although I’m thrilled with this news, I still hope that Heineken will completely come around and agree to label all of their ingredients. Ingredients should be publicly available for anyone that wants to know exactly what they’re drinking – even if it’s alcohol.