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Wednesday, 06 March 2019 08:39

High levels of heavy metals have been reported in beer and wine, yet it is not understood how these contaminants are transferred to the beverages. A research team from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Food Safety, Division of Food Processing Science and Technology, U.S. FDA, theorized that the diatomaceous earth (DE) used to filter beer and wine could be introducing heavy metals, and that altering the filtering conditions might reduce the occurrence.

They analyzed three types of food-grade DE and found that all of them contained arsenic as well as smaller amounts of lead and cadmium. When used to filter beer or wine in the lab, one of the DE samples increased arsenic 3.7- to 7.9-fold compared with the unfiltered beverages, above the safe limit proposed by the FDA for apple juice (10 parts per billion; ppb). The amount of arsenic transferred to the drinks decreased when the beverage was exposed to less DE; the pH of the liquid was altered or the DE was washed beforehand. The researchers also measured levels of the heavy metals in commercial beer and wine samples. Although they detected arsenic in the beverages, levels were below 10 ppb, with the exception of two wine samples that contained 18 and 11 ppb arsenic.

This article was found in American Laboratory: