German beer is famous around the world for its quality that originates from the “Reinheitsgebot“, or the German beer purity law that dates back to early 16th century. For example, following the Bavarian beer purity law from 1516, the only ingredients that could be used in beer production were water, barley and hops.

Today, following the Reinheitsgebot is crucial to convince customers of the quality and standard of the beer. Because of strong German consumer preferences, labeling beer as being compliant with Reinheitsgebot is believed to be a valuable marketing tool in Germany.

Not so pure after all

News just broke in Germany that exposes the truth, that German beer is not so “pure” after all. Several German beer brands are contaminated with the pesticide glyphosate.

The Munich Environmental Institute (Umweltinstitut München) revealed the results of a study showing that traces of the weed killer glyphosate have been found in 14 different beer brands.

The glyphosate levels were in several cases much higher than the legal limit value for drinking water. Glyphosate is a herbicide that is suspected to be carcinogenic, as Deutschlandfunk.de reports.

The German Brewers Association (Deutscher Brauer-Bund) is expected to respond with a statement before noon.

Glyphosate is a controversial substance. Food Watch has launched an initiative in Germany and the Netherlands to gather and galvanize popular support by sending e-mails to the European Commission. Food Watch contends that glyphosate is likely a human carcinogen, according to WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It seeks to mobilize citizens in order to encourage the European Commission to follow the principle of caution and prevention.

In the European Parliament, the political group of Green parties is demanding to prohibit the herbicide, while the European Commission proposes to prolong the approval for usage for 15 more years.

Exposing alcohol industry rhetorics

It is not the first time that German beer was found to be contaminated with health hazards. In 2014 research published in Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A, analysed 24 beer samples from local supermarkets and included both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer. Contamination with micro plastics was found in all cases.

Among those 14 beer brands that are found to be contaminated is Beck’s – the world’s best selling German beer, sold in nearly 90 countries. Beck’s is owned by the world’s largest beer company Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev). Other brands are Hasseröder (owned by ABInBev) or Jever and Radeberger, that both are owned by Oetker Group, a multinational company with an annual turnover of €9.5 billion.

The German Brewers Association is celebrating 500 years of Reinheitsgrebot this year – and has produced two YouTube films for the occasion. Isn’t that ironic?

The rhetorics of the alcohol industry is all about purity, tradition and craftsmanship. Lately they’ve added the buzzword “sustainability” to that chorus.

But in their production processes they use aggressive weed killers that make it all the way into the final product. In their production processes they use micro plastics that find their way into the final product.

An analysis by Friends of the Earth Europe shows that the use of glyphosate in agriculture is not a sustainability measure and has negative impact on planetary health. And finding its way into products, like beer, it might cause cancer in humans.

ABInBev is investing an unfathomable amount of money to take over the second biggest beer producer, SABMiller, creating a “beerhemoth“. ABInBev is also investing gigantic sums into “corporate social responsibility”. They call it “better world pillars”, such as “smart drinking” or “environment” or “people”.

And then, in regular intervals, reality catches up. And when reality catches up with the nice films and the pretty slogans and catch phrases consumers, citizens and politicians have to learn that ABInBev, like other alcohol industry companies, doesn’t really care for anything but their profits.

The alcohol industry does not care for people – instead they target children and youth with their alcohol marketing.

The alcohol industry doesn’t really care for “smart drinking” because their profits significantly depend on people consuming hazardous amounts of alcohol. ABInBev and Big Alcohol are targeting what they call “super consumers“.

The alcohol industry doesn’t really care for the environment, they just want everyone to believe they do. But instead they use dangerous weed killer pesticides that are dangerous for the ecological system and that are probably causing cancer in humans.