The Shocking Ingredients In Beer

I have to confess, I’m not a beer drinker, but there’s someone in my household that loves it, so I had to figure out the truth. Is beer really healthy? Why are the ingredients not listed on the label? Which brands can we trust? Which brands are trying to slowly poison us with cheap and harmful ingredients? All of these questions were going through my head at once at lightning speed. So a year ago, I started to research what was really in beer and after questioning several beer companies, reading books about food science, and talking to experts, the information I discovered was downright shocking.

I see it all the time. Someone who eats organic, makes the right choices at the grocery store, is fit and lives an extraordinarily healthy lifestyle but then drinks beer like it is going out of style.

Caring about what you eat doesn’t necessarily translate into caring about what you drink and this is a HUGE MISTAKE.

Before we get into what exactly is in beer that you should be worried about, let’s talk about how body reacts to alcohol in general.

Alcohol is metabolized by the body differently than all other calories you consume. Alcohol is one of the only substances that you consume that can permeate your digestive system and go straight into your bloodstream. It bypasses normal digestion and is absorbed into the body intact, where it goes straight into the liver.

Your liver is your main fat-burning organ. If you are trying to lose weight or even maintain your ideal weight, drinking alcohol is one of your worst enemies. The liver is going to metabolize alcohol first vs. the fat you want to get rid of – making weight loss even harder. Additionally, one of the primary functions of the liver is to remove environmental toxins from your body – if it is overtaxed with alcohol, the normal removal of these toxins becomes extremely diminished and can result in rapid aging, loss of libido, and other diseases.

The one thing that has gotten me before and I’m sure many of you – is the health marketing claims on alcohol products making drinking them seem like a good idea and an added “benefit” to your health. The low alcohol content of beer makes it appear as an innocuous beverage and something people throw back without even thinking about it. Who hasn’t seen those studies that say a beer a day is great for you (I want to ask who ever stops at just one beer?)?

So, inherently, alcohol by itself is not a healthy person’s best friend – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Beer, especially American beer, is made with all sorts of ingredients beyond the basic hops, malt and yeast. There are numerous other ingredients used to clarify, stabilize, preserve, enhance the color and flavor of beer.

When you drink beer, there is almost a 100% chance that you don’t know what you are drinking (unless you quizzed the beer companies like I did). The ingredients in beer are not required by law to be listed anywhere on the label and manufacturers have no legal obligation to disclose the ingredients. For regular beer, calorie levels and percent alcohol are optional and for light beer calories are mandatory but alcohol levels are optional.

Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, author of Appetite for Profit, and president of Eat Drink Politics told me the reason that beer companies don’t disclose ingredients is simple: they don’t have to.

“Ingredient labeling on food products and non-alcoholic beverages is required by the Food and Drug Administration. But a whole other federal agency regulates beer, and not very well. The Department of Treasury – the same folks who collect your taxes – oversees alcoholic beverages. That probably explains why we know more about what’s in a can of Coke than a can of Bud. You can also thank the alcohol industry, which has lobbied for years against efforts to require ingredient labeling.”

I figured if the beer companies aren’t required to tell us the exact list of ingredients, I needed to investigate this for myself and asked them the pointed questions until I got the truth.



First of all, I was able to obtain a baseline list of “legal” additives allowed in beer from the book “Chemicals Additives in Beer” by the Center of Science and Public Interest. This list allowed me to ask specific questions about each beer I investigated. For example – beer sold here in America can contain several of the following ingredients:

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) –  alcohol is already addictive with some people, but with MSG?! Holy smokes.

  • Propylene Glycol (an ingredient found in anti-freeze)

  • Calcium Disodium EDTA (made from formaldehyde, sodium cayanide, and Ethylenediamine)

  • Many different types of sulfites and anti-microbial preservatives (linked to allergies and asthma)

  • Natural Flavors (can come from anything natural including a beavers anal gland)

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • GMO Sugars – Dextrose, Corn Syrup

  • Caramel Coloring (Class III or IV made from ammonia and classified as a carcinogen)

  • FD&C Blue 1 (Made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma and hyperactivity)

  • FD&C Red 40 (Made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma and hyperactivity)

  • FD&C Yellow 5 (Made from petroleum, linked to allergies, asthma and hyperactivity)

  • Insect-Based Dyes: carmine derived from cochineal insects to color their beer.

  • Animal Based Clarifiers: Findings include isinglass (dried fish bladder), gelatin (from skin, connective tissue, and bones), and casein (found in milk)

  • Foam Control: Used for head retention; (glyceryl monostearate and pepsin are both potentially derived from animals)

  • BPA (Bisphenol A is a component in many can liners and it may leach into the beer. BPA can mimic the female hormone estrogen and may affect sperm count, and other organ functions.)

  • Carrageenan (linked to inflammation in digestive system, IBS and considered a carcinogen in some circumstances)

During my investigation, I couldn’t get a single mainstream beer company to share the full list of ingredients contained in their beer. But I did get some of them to fess up to the use of these ingredients in writing so I’m going to share this information with you now.

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.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Many of the beers I questioned contained one or more possible GMO ingredients.

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (Guinness – unable to provide an affidavit for non-GMO proof)
  • Corn syrup (Miller Light, Coors, Corona, Fosters, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Red Stripe)
  • Dextrose (Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light, Michelob Ultra)
  • Corn (Red Stripe, Miller Coors Brand, Anheuser-Busch Brands)

Most beers brewed commercially are made with more GMO corn than barley. Many of the companies I contacted dodged the GMO question – however Miller Coors had a very forthcoming and honest response. They stated “Corn syrup gives beer a milder and lighter-bodied flavor” and “Corn syrups may be derived from a mixture of corn (conventional and biotech.)”, admitting their use of GMOs.


Pabst Blue Ribbon responded saying their corn syrup was “special” and “made of carbohydrates and some simple sugars like dextrose and maltose.  The sugars are fermented into alcohol and CO2, and the carbohydrates, both from the corn syrup and the malt, remain in the beers as flavor, color and body components.”

Dextrose and maltose can come from a variety of substances that are sweet, but likely are derived from GMO corn because it is super cheap for a company to use corn instead of fruit or other non-GMO sources. With cheap beer – you are not just getting a cheap buzz, you are getting the worst of the worst.  Just like with cheap fast food – if you don’t invest in your beer – you will be drinking a lower quality product like Pabst Blue Ribbon that is made from GMO Corn and Corn Syrup.

In 2007, Greenpeace found unapproved and experimental GMO Rice strain in Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Bud Light) beer. Anheuser-Busch responded saying their US-grown long-grained rice “may have micro levels” of a genetically engineered protein called Liberty Link, but added that the protein is “substantially removed or destroyed” during the brewing of beer sold domestically. Don’t you think it’s hard to trust any beer company that gets caught using experimental food made in a laboratory? GMOs have not been tested long term on human beings and one of the main pesticides (Roundup) they spray on GMO crops are linked to inflammation, cancer and other diseases. 


High Fructose Corn Syrup & Fish Bladders

Speaking of trusting companies, let’s get one thing straight, Guinness beer is no longer owned by the Irish, they are now owned by a large beer conglomerate called Diageo and manufactured in over 50 different countries. No matter how many St. Patty’s Day celebrations you’ve had with this dark stout, it’s time to stop because they use high fructose corn syrup in their beer. But, Guinness beer also contains isinglass, a gelatin-like substance produced from the swim bladder of a fish. This ingredient helps remove any “haziness,” solids, or yeast byproducts from the beer. Mmmmm… fish bladder sounds delicious, doesn’t? The sneaky thing this beer company does like many of the companies mentioned here today is create an illusion of using the best ingredients when in actuality what they tell you publicly on their websites is a complete farce. On Guinness FAQ’s – they have a question that states: “What are the key ingredients in Guinness” and the answer doesn’t reveal the whole picture – it only states “Our key ingredients – other than inspiration – are roasted, malted barley, hops, yeast and water.” What BS, right?  You have to call, email, question and know the right things to ask to even have a chance at getting the truth. This is insanity.

So What Beers Are Additive and GMO Free?

If you enjoy the occasional beer and wish to maintain your healthy lifestyle, choosing one without GMOs and additives is ideal. Unfortunately, most of the mainstream beers available have additives, but luckily, there are a few that don’t. For example, Sierra Nevada, Heineken, and Amstel Light (7/31 UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Heinken USA has changed their formula to use GMOs – I called their customer service line 1-914-681-4100 to confirm and asked for the list of ingredients – the man told me “water, yeast, malted barley and hops” – then I asked if their beer contained any genetically engineered material and he confirmed “YES,” but wouldn’t tell me what ingredients are genetically engineered. They recently changed their formula after my initial research that started in late 2012.) (8/1 Update: Heineken reached out to me personally to say their customer service department made an error in telling me and others who called their beer has GMOs. I met with a head brew master and have viewed affidavits from the company and confirmed Heinken and Amstel Light do not contain GMOs – they apologize for the confusion.) appear to be pretty clean (but these companies still wouldn’t disclose the full list of ingredients to me. They did say they use non-GMO grains, no artificial ingredients, stabilizers or preservatives).

German Beers are also a good bet. The Germans are very serious about the purity of their beers and enacted a purity law called “Reinheitsgebot” that requires all German beers to be only produced with a core ingredient list of water, hops, yeast, malted barley or wheat. Advocates of German beers insist that they taste cleaner and some even claim they don’t suffer from hangovers as a result.

An obvious choice to consider is also Certified Organic Beers. They are required by law to not include GMOs and other harmful additives. Organic beers also support environmental friendly practices and reduce the amount of pesticides and toxins in our air, support organic farmers – which is a huge plus. (To this day, the beer drinkers in my family haven’t found one they love so if you have suggestions, please let us know in the comments!)

Craft & Microbrews Beers – For certain local craft and micro beers, you can ask those companies for a list of ingredients and many of them will be up front with you. However, companies like Miller Coors are slowly closing in on craft beers and buying them up one by one… like they did when they created the unique popular variety called Blue Moon (the beer you drink with an orange) and Anhesuer-Busch did this with Rolling Rock and Goose Island Brewery. Make sure your favorite craft and microbrew is still independently owned and controlled before taking a sip.

In the end – if you decide to drink beer, you are definitely drinking at your own risk for more reasons than just the crazy ingredients that could be in them. The key point to remember is – if you like to drink beer and want to be healthy, drink it infrequently and quiz the beer companies for the truth. Find a beer that you can trust and stick with it.

For your reference, here are some important questions to ask your favorite beer company:

  1. What are the ingredients in your beer – all of them from start to finish?

  2. Are any of your ingredients GMO?

  3. Do you use any soy, corn, or rice processing ingredients? (Examples include: dextrose, corn syrup, etc.)

  4. Do you add any natural, artificial flavors or colors to the beer? (Examples include:  yellow #5, caramel coloring, red #40, MSG, natural flavors)

  5. Are there any additional preservatives, stabilizers and/or clarifying agents added to your beer during processing? (Examples include: propylene glycol, Calcium Disodium EDTA, anything ending in “sulfite” like sodium metabisulfite, Heptylparaben, isinglass)

If you know someone who drinks beer – share this post with them.

These ingredients are no joke. We must inform and protect each other from these industrial chemicals, untested and potentially harmful ingredients and it starts by sharing your knowledge with the ones you love.

Bottoms up!

Food Babe

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1,262 Responses to “The Shocking Ingredients In Beer”

  1. Shannon

    Trader Joe’s has a nice “Organic Peak” IPA.

  2. A J

    I wish other alcoholic beverages/liquors would be up front with their ingredients as well… Thank you for the insight, I always wondered why ingredients were not listed on any of these!

  3. Blaire

    I think the Samuel Smith Organic Cider is delicious. I don’t have luck finding anything organic on tap, however Samuel smith had a broad selection of organic beers.

  4. Edward McCall

    Where is Samuel Adams Boston Lager (my favorite beer) in this? Years ago they claimed they follow the German Beer Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot which you mentioned). Is it still the case?

    • Erik (to Edward McCall)

      They are still a craft brewery who does not use adjuncts in their brewing process. They use real natural ingredients. The Reinheitsgebot law, simply stated that beer should only be made with three ingredients: water, barley, and hops. They didn’t even know yeast existed back then.

      So any beer that is made with any kind of fruit, or spices, pumpkin, etc. all break that German purity law. So breaking that has zero bearing on the quality of ingredients, merely the type.

      In fact, a group of young scientists in Germany have been experimenting with yeast strains to develop various fruit and other flavors directly through the yeast growth, so that they can make flavored beers in Germany, that still technically meet the requirements.

    • Jen (to Edward McCall)

      I contacted Sam Adams directly and got a response right away: Thank you for your question regarding the ingredients in our beer. When a drinker contacts us, we take their words as seriously as we brew our beer.
      We do not add any preservatives to our beer, nor do we use any adjuncts (sugar, rice, and corn), which lighten and cheapen it. Our beers are made with all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Samuel Adams Boston Lager was the first American beer to pass the German Beer Purity Law also known as the Reinheitsgebot. The Reinheitsgebot requires German brewers to only use the traditional ingredients found in beer: water, malt, hops and yeast. Samuel Adams Boston Lager consists of 4 ingredients: Water, a special Samuel Adams blend of two-row malted barley, Bavarian hops, Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Tettnanger, and proprietary Samuel Adams lager yeast. To add additional complexity to our brews, some of our other recipes use spices or fruit (not to be confused with adjuncts) including vanilla, grains of paradise, cinnamon, chocolate, rose hips, lemon zest, and orange peel.
      Because we do not use any preservatives, we strive for freshness at Samuel Adams. This is why all of our beers have a freshness dating that gives a recommended date to consume by. Although beer doesn’t expire in the sense that milk does, we believe freshness is a fundamental component of any quality beer.
      We hope this answers your question. Thanks again for contacting us, and please continue to enjoy Samuel Adams beer knowing we use only the finest quality ingredients!

      • Dan (to Jen)

        So, even following that German purity law, could Sam Adams still use GMOs in their beers?

        That response from their customer service rep is nice, but it doesn’t answer the GMO question. Or did I miss it?

  5. Javi

    Hopworks brewery!! All of their beers are certified organic and delicious! From Portland, Oregon. Many other microbrews who most likely are gmo free in the State of Oregon as well as many Certified Organic.

  6. James

    Thank you for publishing this. I will go back to sipping wine on occasion and drinking good German and Micro beer. I am offended by some these rude and ignorant comments from people that are blind to the fact that we are at war with our own people. Don’t take away their pacifiers cause they will cry.

  7. Erik

    I completely agree with the information here regarding macro breweries, in the US and throughout the world. However, as a supporting of craft beer and a homebrewer myself, I know that there is a very important part of this story that is missing.

    American craft brewers do not use these adjunct ingredients in their brewing processes and take great pride in using quality, fresh ingredients as a primary distinction between them, and the macro-brewers.

    In fact, a group of them once tried to put ingredients on their bottles and the labels got denied by the government! They literally aren’t allowed to. Alcoholic beverages are treated differently than food products, largely because of the lobbying power of the macro-breweries.

    Please DO NOT lump quality, local craft breweries in with this crowd.

    There is no more association between Bud/Miller/Coors and the craft beer industry than there is between an organic vegetable farm and an industrial slaughter house.

    • Eichlerdad (to Erik)

      Alcoholic beverages are prohibited from listing nutritional and health info because of laws dating back to the days of “Snake Oil”. It has nothing to do with the brewers.

  8. Thomas

    I’ll stay with Spaten from Germany. I like real beer. I was drinking Beck’s Dark until they sold out to Bush and is made in the US now. I only drink 1-2 beers a week so I don’t mind paying more for good German import beer.

    • Jeremy (to Thomas)

      Even though it is still made in Germany, Spaten is owned by Anheuser-Bush InBev

    • Jon Mark (to Thomas)

      Spaten is owned by Anheuser-Busch INBEV

      • Robert (to Jon Mark)

        Spaten, as well as Anheuser-Busch, were bought out by INBEV. SO, AB does NOT own Spaten, INBEV owns them both. There is a difference. And the reason why is they got a deal when the US currency went down after our economy crashed due to GWB’s policy of starting un-neccessary war. But that’s a different debate.

  9. Paul

    Minor side note… Isenglass actually gets filtered out (along with certain proteins etc) before packaging. So unless it is against your morals it doesn’t affect the taste of the beer in any way.

    Also as pointed out methyl alcohol (polypropylene glycol) is a natural by product of fermentation, the amounts in beer are quite minute. It is not an added ingredient.

    • goobrador (to Paul)

      Also, saying something is bad simply because “it contains polypropylene glycol which is found in antifreeze” is like telling someone they should avoid water because h2o is found in antifreeze. It may still be bad (p-g) but, the arguement is ridiculous.

  10. Tony

    Another reason to enjoy making my own beer – esp since the beer supply store deals with local growers when possible & researches all other distributors of his ingredients

    • mike (to Tony)

      yeah Tony enjoy your homebrew, you can see then that most the things she is claiming is a joke, and yeah hombrewers use insinglass and other adjuncts sugars that she makes sound so horrid.
      dont believe the things you read. Beer is still one of the few true products left in our world that hasnt changed much. even though industrial brewers have dumbed it down, its still mostly made wiht 4 ingredients.

  11. Jim

    Great facts! Except roundup is not a pesticide, so if that is incorrect how many more things in this article are incorrect?

    • Mike (to Jim)

      Since when is Roundup not a pesticide? It’s used by almost all non-organic farmers to control insects from eating their crops.
      If it is used for the prevention of insects from eating a crop, that is a pesticide.

      • bocomo (to Mike)

        It’s an herbicide

      • Bruce (to Mike)

        herbicide, insecticide it really doesn’t matter they are all pesticides

      • Shannon (to Mike)

        Herbicides and pesticides/insecticides are two different things, one kills plants and the other kills bugs. Round-up kills plants (herbicide), so farmers do not use it to keep insects from eating their crops. Most farmers will avoid pesticides if at all possible since they also kill the “good” bugs that help their crops.

  12. Lori Littenberg

    We love St Peter’s Organic Ale and Sam Smith Organic Ale. Both are English beers but not easy to find locally. I always have to ask my local store to track it down. Whole Foods used to carry both beers but just recently stopped.

  13. Cat

    It would be nice to alternatives included in these articles, not just what NOT to eat/drink.
    There are hundreds of small organic breweries making small and large batches of quality, locally sourced organic brews.
    I live in the bay area, California, so I am spoiled for choice of fantastic and ethically produced beer. But nationwide we have so many choices. You never have to drink a adjunct macro-brew again if you just pay a little more.

  14. James

    Propylene glycol is not antifreeze – ethylene glycol is. It’s similar to the differences in ethanol and methanol. Propylene glycol is on the FDA’s GRAS list.

    • peacefl (to James)

      Be careful that you not slander the person who wrote the article and tell others ” not to pay attention tothe beers”. It appears that indeed she did her homework on this and is 100% legit..

      “First of all, I was able to obtain a baseline list of “legal” additives allowed in beer from the book “Chemicals Additives in Beer” by the Center of Science and Public Interest. This list allowed me to ask specific questions about each beer I investigated. For example – beer sold here in America can contain several of the following ingredients:”

  15. Dave

    If you are in Canada you can’t beat Mill St Organic. Amazing beer.

  16. Informed Consumer

    I saw your story link on social media. I went looking for more and as far as I can find, the ONLY information out there on GMOs in beer is parroted (and linked to) from your original post in August 2013. I want to know more about your sources, since you don’t list them. I understand that you may be protecting some, but without knowing your sources, or at least the process on how you gained the information, your story loses credibility. Please tell us where you got your info, (especially about Guinness and Diageo). Since there is little available about food ingredients required for alcoholic beverages in the USA, we are kept in the dark about what we are actually eating. Some may say booze is not a food, but if we put it in our bodies, shouldn’t we get to know what’s in it? Also, doesn’t food get labeled differently in the EU, don’t they have to disclose? Please update your story to include the sources of your information. Inquiring minds NEED to know!

    • James (to Informed Consumer)

      Most HFCS is GMO. Having said that, I don’t care if it’s GMO or not, that stuff makes things taste worse. I suppose that explains my gravitation away from Guinness in the last 10 years or so. The fish bladder, I really don’t care about as long as it’s not cover in fish poop when it goes in.

      • Informed Consumer (to James)

        I was hoping that the FoodBabe would respond to this question. I don’t disagree that most HFCS is GMO, but what I want to know is where her source information is. Most credible authors cite their sources and she has not done so.

      • Jeff (to James)

        Using the term “fish bladder” is misleading. Isinglass is a protein found in the fishes swim bladder (a sac that fills with gas to adjust a fishes buoyancy) and it is a clarifying agent. Brewers add it before bottling to bind with solids in the beer, which then fall to the bottom of the brewing vessel and are not pumped to the bottling line. It’s considered an ingredient, but there is absolutely no Isinglass found in the final product.

  17. Jason

    GMOs in beer….really? That’s what we’re supposed to worry about? This is a bunch of BS. Corn syrup (HF or otherwise) for gmo corn is chemically identical to corn syrup from Jon-GMO corn. So tell me how one could be harmful and the other not?

  18. Katie

    Can you do a study on wine? There are a few organic wines out there. I’ve heard grapes have a have one of the highest probabilities of pesticide use.

    • Jeff (to Katie)

      She alerts us to the use of sulfites in beer, when in reality the only sulfites present in beer are those created by yeast in the process of fermentation (around 3-5 ppm). Sulfites are much more prevalent in wine making, as grapes and wine are commonly treated with sulfites and preservatives to retain freshness through pressing and primary fermentation.

  19. Robert

    I have a few questions. But first let me begin with a little bit of where I’m coming from.

    I don’t care to have chemicals in my food/drink, and use some simple cleaning solutions in the house, though I did not give up on some of the chemicals.

    If things work out the way we’d like I’ll be growing/raising quite a bit of our food in a more natural manner to avoid pesticides and hormones, and otherwise nasty environments.

    So I do understand a bit of where you are coming from, but I’m not sure, and am looking for clarification to understand, what was meant by:

    “Alcohol is one of the only substances that you consume that can permeate your digestive system and go straight into your bloodstream. It bypasses normal digestion and is absorbed into the body intact, where it goes straight into the liver.”

    I’m also unsure how these things are bad:

    “Animal Based Clarifiers: Findings include isinglass (dried fish bladder), gelatin (from skin, connective tissue, and bones), and casein (found in milk).”

    Some of it may not be appealing, but it isn’t a chemical or synthetic.

    I’ve been brewing my own beer now for almost 3 years, and having opened my eyes to the craft brew scene, and watched some of the reports about what InBev/AB has done has completely turned me off to their brands, and I refuse to buy them.

    Corn sugar is the touted as the best sugar for bottle carbonating. You have found it highly probable that any dextrose (granulated corn sugar) offered at a home brew supply store is likely made from GMO corn?

    I’m mixed on the GMO thing. On one hand the idea of having reorganized it creeps me out a bit in that I have no idea how this reacts with the human body, but I can see how if it means they didn’t spray my food source with poisons it may not be as bad.

  20. Jules Winfield

    Home brew is the way to go. The taste quality is second to none. All ingredients are under your control. I started crafting my own beer and wine last year and haven’t bought either since. Just about any beer on the market can be duplicated. Once you get used to the process any recipe can be tweaked to taste.

  21. bob tyler

    I want evidence please.

  22. Maggie Henry

    Just wondering if you have had an update on this with any more recommendations for organic beers. Saw the one fro TJ’s IPA I will have to try. Would also like to recommend my favorite organic hard cider, it is JK Scrumpies from the Koan Orchards in Michigan.

  23. chris

    According to a Guinness Consumer Care Representative who I emailed today. Guinness does not contain high fructose corn syrup, so I wonder how much else in this article is not accurate. Always best to check your sources when using the internet.

  24. Peter

    I agree with everything written in this article EXCEPT the suggestion that the use of isinglass in beer is wrong in any way. It has been used for centuries in the production of beer. There is nothing synthetic, GMO or whatever about it. It is not the bladder as suggested, but the swim bladder (that organ that keeps a fish buoyant as it swims). Similarly, animal rennet is used throughout the world for the production of cheese (derived from ground up frozen stomachs of calves and goats). Now, knowing that, would that really cause us to push away the next slice of cheese…perfect crisp grilled cheese sandwich?

  25. Rob

    Peak’s Organic “Fresh Cut” or Spring pale ale’s are incredible. I’ve been to the largest microbrew competition in North America x5 (Great American Beer Festival/GABF) in Denver [y'all should go!], and understand beers very well.

    Until now, Peak’s beers were “just OK”. But I would say the Fresh Cut is the best beer I’ve ever had. Period.

  26. Colin McGinnis

    I emailed Guinness and, like others, received a statement that they do not use High Fructose Corn Syrup. Please provide proof of your claims, or correct the article.

  27. Dan Yazbek

    You should delete “(an ingredient found in anti-freeze)” from Propylene Glycol in your list of possible beer ingredients. It is ethylene glycol that is in anti-freeze.

  28. Gary

    Propylene Glycol (an ingredient found in anti-freeze) is kind of a false statement. Ethelene glycol is used in anti-freeze. PG is used in ecigarettes (which helped get me off cigarettes now for over 3 years), in cough medicine, in foods like ice cream and confections, and in medicines for injection that are not water soluable. It is in your toothpaste too.

    When you say ANTIFREEZE people think of the common stuff used in our cars. Yes it can be used in anti-freeze. And it is. PG is a safe alternative that will not kill the dog if he drinks it. The FDA approves food/medical grade PG for use in meds and foods.

    Please get your facts straight.

  29. peacefl

    Be careful that you not slander the person who wrote the article and tell others ” not to pay attention tothe beers”. It appears that indeed she did her homework on this and is 100% legit..

    “First of all, I was able to obtain a baseline list of “legal” additives allowed in beer from the book “Chemicals Additives in Beer” by the Center of Science and Public Interest. This list allowed me to ask specific questions about each beer I investigated. For example – beer sold here in America can contain several of the following ingredients:”

  30. chris

    Thanks a bunch for such an informed discussion. Does anyone know firsthand, or have a link, to beers that are gmo and wheat free?

  31. EST

    How about Hamms and Shiner? I just emailed Shiner. I will update when they respond.

  32. Davide

    the best beer you can drink is original bavarian beer like “augustiner, paulaner, spaten, löwenbräu …” – all gmo free, no hidden ingridients!!!
    i’m so glad i live here in bavaria!

  33. cherilyn

    I have a question. Do you have any information on Shock Top unfiltered Wheat beer. My hubby drinks it occasionally.


  34. Will

    Man, wouldnt it be awesome if she had actually bothered to do any research at all into this story? Many of the ingredients she lists are not used (MSG, sulfides?), some are not even ingredients but used in other parts of the process (filtration, clarification, refrigeration). She claims that she interviewed breweries, yet provides no citations or evidence of this, and her lack of understanding of the most basic of brewing processes shows this for the lie it is. Nice job working for what is essentially a neo-prohibitionist group and pretending some ulterior motive. Oh, and in case you were wondering, that picture showing you with a glass of wine – that wine probably has about 5-6 times the sulfide content of any beer on earth!

  35. Will

    That is clearly not true. I guarantee you sam adams uses adjunct sugars in all of their stronger beers, just like EVERY OTHER brewer on the planet.

  36. Will

    No beers actually “contain” HFCS. Because it ferments completely and cleanly, It is used as an adjunct sugar or as a priming sugar. Adjunct sugars are used to increase the alcohol content of a beer without affecting the taste or mouthfeel, while priming sugars are used for carbonation. In both cases, ALL of the HFCS is converted to alcohol, the same compound that you likely drink beer for.

  37. Amy (to )

    Yikes. Sounds like you need one.

  38. Christian (to )

    You’ve been listening to the likes of Alex Jones a little to much. Please stop spreading his lies. Germans did not use Fluoride in the LABOR CAMPS.

  39. (to )

    Actually – yes, that is true. Fluoride can & has been used to keep people apathetic/docile. But it isn’t a direct cause. Fluoride is a KNOWN endocrine-disruptor. Among its other nasty deeds, it accumulates in the pineal gland which is central to the brain; the pineal gland is the producer of melatonin which governs our sleep cycles. At the levels of fluoride in drinking water commonly required by [evil] US laws, it takes a few decades for the fluoride to accumulate in levels that affect us negatively – thus we ASSume that our troubles are due to “just getting older”. Fluoride also accumulates in the thyroid gland, which affects a lot of other things – such as metabolism (how much of our food is burnt vs stored), reproductive hormones (including infertility), and mental function. When the thyroid gland is compromised for some reason, it affects the dopamine levels in the brain – which in turn affects the decision-making process. In particular, the simple ACT of making a choice, becomes harder. I have experienced this & believe me, it is awful. I can honestly understand how concentration camp inmates would lack the mental ability to simply DECIDE to escape, rebel etc. I have experienced the mental fog, the loss of memory, the lethargy! I am now well – and I want to stay that way, & that includes not drinking water that contains added [industrial] fluoride. Why do you think the dear govt recommends we brush our teeth with toothpaste that contains fluoride? why do they recommend we drink at least 8 tall glasses of tap water a day? and why in Europe is fluoridating water considered drugging a population without their consent – and it’s illegal ?

  40. Jack (to Christian)

    No, YOU stop spreading DISINFORMATION!

  41. Bro Andrew (to Christian)

    , , , and they did not kill 6 million jews, gays, preachers, homeless, artistic people either! Alex Jones does go off too much, but his information is right on. He should tone down alittle, I like MIle the Info War Health Ranger he is mellow and tells the TRUTH. The TRUTH hurts most people, but you can not avoid it, might as well join them.

  42. Nick (to Christian)

    You’re right. Germans did not use fluoride in the labor camps; they used it on the general populace.

    Next time, do some research and study history before you decide to open your mouth and make a fool of yourself.

  43. Thomas (to Christian)

    Stay ignorant my friend and have another Dos Equis.

  44. sovereigntea (to Christian)

    Sorry dude you are wrong .. both the Soviets and the Nazis added Sodium Fluoride to the water supply in Gulags the Nazis also added it to the water supply in urban areas they had conquered.

    USAF Major George R. Jordan testified before Un-American Activity committees of Congress in the 1950′s that in his post as U.S.Soviet liaison officer, the Soviets openly admitted to…

    “Using the fluoride in the water supplies in their gulags (concentration camps), to make the prisoners stupid, docile, and subservient.”

    Also see Austrailian “Dickinson Statement” to the Victorian Parliament
    Quote – The real purpose behind water fluoridation is to reduce the resistance of the masses to domination and control and loss of liberty…
    “I say this in all earnestness and sincerity of a scientist who has spent nearly 20 years research into the chemistry, bio-chemistry, physiology and pathology of fluorine: any person who drinks artificially fluorinated water for a period of one year or more will never again be the same person, mentally or physically.”

  45. Dean (to

    Fluoride inhabits the receptor sites on cells for iodine. Thus the effect of fluoride on the brain, energy levels, etc., is rather quick. Fluoride also opens up the blood-brain barrier (like aluminum). Iodine is essential and all cells have receptor sites for it. Bromine, like fluoride, also will displace iodine from receptor sites. Fluoride will weaken bones and joints too. Studies show that fluoride will lower IQ significantly. Governments like fluoride (and bromine). It dulls the population, makes them easy to manipulate, and the people die-off more quickly.

  46. bert (to

    The amount of fluoride in toothpaste is very small compared to daily ingested fluoride in fluoridated water, about 1.1 mg in a very large 1 gram dallop of toothpaste.

    Roughly 2 mg per day is ingested by a person due to water fluoridation practice in much of the US. (So, even if you swallowed your entire toothpaste you use on average in a day, you would consume about as much fluoride as due to water fluoridation.) 2 mg equals just two liters at 1 ppm, or 2.86 liters at 0.7 ppm.

    People in Maine where fluoridation is typically set at 1.2 ppm are typically exposed to about 3 mg Fluoride a day.

    Added fluoride should be avoided for anybody consuming significant amounts of diuretics, such as beer and coffee. That’s why some health conscious beer lovers are watching what they’re drinking; please check out

    It is my belief that risk and damage does occur on the spans of years and decades and that this explains why the US has one of the highest disease rates among developed nations, despite spending more than any other nation on medical care and drugs. Water fluoridation is not written into any federal US laws, but the political agenda to push for it is set in its institutions, and a lot of lobbying dollars and political pressure is exerted by lobby groups and certain robber baron money funded foundations. It is a very 1950′s type of practice, that is outdated now that modern toothpaste is commonly available and just about universally used.

    Although toothpaste F- concentration is very high (1100 ppm w/w), the amount of toothpaste used is very small (between 1/2 to 1 gram typically), and it is used very briefly in the mouth; about 1 minute, and then almost all of that fluoride goes down the bathroom sink. A very small portion, 5% to 10% is absorbed, mostly through the gums, mostly depending on how long you brush. So, the total intake of fluoride by brushing is very small, roughly 0.15 mg per day, in many cases 0.1 mg which is so small it isn’t significant, especially when compared to the exposure of 2 mg per day due to fluoridation.

  47. Sia (to

    Actually, several other countries fluoridate their water, including European countries. The degree to which they do varies, but it must also be noted that water can be NATURALLY fluoridated.

    You have entered the dark world of half cracked conspiracy theories. It’s time to step away from the keyboard.

  48. Kyle Jones (to

    As a dentist, and former scientist. You’re quite the fool. A quick search on pub med would prove you’re a simple minded conspiracy theorist.

  49. Rex (to

    Must kill Frank Drebin…

  50. rosy (to

    you said it all, thank you.

  51. Luke (to

    What??Seriously??Thanks for the heads up! ;)

  52. Kristin (to

    Wow, you’re so misinformed about fluoride at the levels we receive them. I bet you’re in the antivaccination crowd, too.

  53. jim downs (to )

    Good for you connie mack, You put the ignorant sock puppet In his place. I figured his name was jerk instead of jake. I read his earlier comments and he is very uninformed. He probably drinks mudwieser. I myself brew my own beer so I don’t worry about contaminants in my brew. I figure he has it out for the food babe because she’s not the beer babe. However I found the article to be informative as well as many of the comments. Then there are some of the other comments of clearly uninformed individuals. Thanx, Beer (Food) Babe, for the investigative report.

  54. Pam P (to Dean)

    This is very true. And you are ingesting bromine with any bread or bun that has “dough conditioner” listed on the package. They started “flourisylic acid” of flouridating my home town in 1954. I am seeing many of my friends and family with tumors and cancers. My vet told me 15 years ago never to give my dogs tap water. Go to
    and find out more about this. My dentist is totally against the forced flouride in our water systems. Our FA comes from the smoke scrapings of a factory in Juarez Mexico. And because the US is running out because we shipped our factories outside the US they are importing China’s FA . When are we going to get people to wake up??

  55. buds (to Dean)

    So now I know why Republicans can’t think for themselves any longer

  56. cheryl (to Dean)

    all he is saying is very true. just do ur research. people dont want to believe this or wake up and change. i really dont understand it. even parents that i try to inform tell me im crazy. seems theres alot of brainwashed zombies already. its ur kids what the heck. dont u care ur feeding them poisens and screwing them up. i just dont understand. so many more need to realize.

  57. Mr. who awake now (to Sia)

    Your wrong you foul. Most of states in Europe stopped the poisoning fluoridation a while ago. Just obey your shadowy government like sheep. beeee, beeee beeee….
    maybe you wake up some day, read more on it. Doctors are paid to tell you a lot of stories, they are just followers. They are not scientist, they follow instruction by farma corp.

  58. Travis (to Sia)

    Actually several developed countries have moved away from fluoridating their water (most notably Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Reasons vary from cost to health concerns. Also, yes water can be naturally fluoridated, but water can actually have traces of arsenic. That doesn’t mean that we should be adding it to our water.

    Here is an updated list of communities:

  59. Herb (to )

    Thank You Kal

  60. War on Beer (to )

    Beer contains Ethanol Alcohol – a known cancer causing substance in the State of California under Proposition 65. We require that all Beer companies list this ingredient and clearly label that Beer causes CANCER. The Bars, beer pubs, 7-11, CVS, grocery stores, etc., will be barred form selling all Beer products until all bottles are clearly marked with this warning label.

  61. Mark (to )

    The author of that article loses all credibility with me for defending GMO and making a case for BPA. That has paid shill for the food industry written all over it. They are producing foods that make their own pesticides and or can be heavily sprayed with pesticides and not be affected. You want me to believe that is OK?? No thanks.

    Industrial farming is not sustainable and is most likely the reason everybody reading this knows somebody with cancer. It was recently published that cancer rates are expected to shoot up another 57% over the next few years! Hello? Any idea what may be causing that my friend??

    I’ll stick with the Food Babe on this one. She would have been forced to take this down if she wasn’t onto something.

  62. Eric (to War on Beer)

    Unfortunately , Beer is regulated by a different branch of the Gov. and not the food and Drug, and not required to put All ingredients in Beer. The Beer Company’s lobby for this, because people dont want to hear, what they are drinking is toxic.

  63. Lukas (to SJtR)

    Straw man argument dumb ass.

  64. Lukas (to barnzey)

    Another straw man argument. You just keep eating your GMOs.

  65. Desiree (to barnzey)

    No need to get your panties in a bunch. She is just informing the public. You can still eat and drink your modified and toxic food/drinks..your body your choice so calm down with your ignorant and idiotic statements of the ingredients of antifreeze vs a plain glass of water

  66. BLT (to Kregg)

    Speaking of self-righteous… …and snobbish… two paragons if there ever were. Amazing that anyone would actually defend the consumption of known carcinogens when real beer is really available.

  67. StAR (to Lukas)

    .. most don’t even know the term straw man ..or what it means..sigh..

  68. Eric (to Desiree)

    Whats ignorant and idiotic about it?

  69. Thomas (to Kyle Jones)

    Stay ignorant my friend and have another Dos Equis.

  70. Ann (to Kyle Jones)

    Not so I am suffering this morning and have done so all night after putting a stout in my casserole. I say this because it’s the first time I have done so and eaten exactly the same as I always do. There is something going on and also I have the same effect with certain wines. I don’t see what you being a dentist has to do with it. I am a psychologist so there !!

  71. Lynn D (to Kyle Jones)

    To Kyle Jones: Evidently, your education (ie govt indoctrination) has made the FOOL out of you. Plus, you being a “dentist”, I can understand why you’d prefer to keep your head up your ass about SODIUM flouride (rat poison) that the govt DUMPS in our water supply and tells us it’s “good” for our teeth. Even a third grader can do a simple investigation, by taking their finger our of their nose and pecking a few keys on GOOGLE and see the difference between SODIUM flouride and CALCIUM flouride (good for teeth). SODIUM flouride is highly toxic and this is the type of flouride they are using on the population. Do your homework before opening your mouth, and exposing how simple-minded you actually are, inspite of your fancy “education”. “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.” ~Albert Einstein

  72. Kyle Jones (to Thomas)

    Stupid and unoriginal? Wow you have a lot going for you.

  73. Dimitriy (to sovereigntea)

    “Using the fluoride in the water supplies in their gulags (concentration camps), to make the prisoners stupid, docile, and subservient.”

    Where are you getting from info from? Fluoride is still not used in water supplied in Russia. They started to add Chloride to water in late 1970′s. Before that the water was not treated and not so safe to drink if not boiled. To make prisoners “stupid, docile, and subservient” in GULAGS they used a 10 hours a day labor and bad living condition. Treated water would be a luxury back then!

  74. Surfside Jack (to Gerry P)

    I found the same thing, Guinness answered my query on Facebook in less than an hour. Answer: “You can rest assure that we do not use high fructose corn syrup in any of our Guinness beer around the world. “

  75. Tom (to Mark)

    Yes, you’re brilliant, let’s abandon industrial, large scale farming and go back to subsistence farming, because as history as shown, mass famine is just so much fun! Oh, first world ignorance…

  76. Tom (to Mark)

    Yes, let’s abandon industrial agriculture and return to subsistence farming, mass starvation is just so much fun! Hooray for the luxury of first-world whining…

  77. peacefl (to Surfside Jack)

    Be careful that you not slander the person who wrote the article and tell others ” not to pay attention tothe beers”. It appears that indeed she did her homework on this and is 100% legit..

    “First of all, I was able to obtain a baseline list of “legal” additives allowed in beer from the book “Chemicals Additives in Beer” by the Center of Science and Public Interest. This list allowed me to ask specific questions about each beer I investigated. For example – beer sold here in America can contain several of the following ingredients:”


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