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Is there something in your beer?

You’ve carefully combed the supermarket shelves using your Truefood Guide to make sure all the products that you buy are free from genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. You’ve just whipped up a delicious Truefood feast and opened up the fridge to wash it all down with your favourite beer. All good right? Well maybe not – have you ever thought about what GE ingredients might be lurking in your beer?

In Australia, ingredients derived from GE soy, maize (corn), canola and cottonseed have been approved for use in food and beverages. A plethora of minor ingredients commonly used in alcoholic beverages are derived from these ingredients, and do not have to be labelled under our current laws.

So what GE ingredients are used in beer?

GE maize is the main source of GE contamination in beer. Although no GE maize is grown in Australia, GE maize may still make its way into our beer and cider through the use of imported flaked or cracked maize, corn syrup, glucose, maltodextrin and dextrin. Beers imported from the US are particularly likely to be contaminated with GE ingredients, as the food chain in the US is flooded with GE ingredients.

Is wine GE-free?

The Winemakers’ Federation of Australia maintains a strong policy to exclude GE from production of all Australian wines. The majority of Australian wineries adhere to this policy, however some may still use GE-derived ingredients.

Imported wines are more of a gamble, and may contain ascorbic acid, citric acid and natamycin produced using GE maize. There is also a risk that egg, milk and fish products, used during the production process, may be derived from animals fed GE feed.

What about spirits?

If reading all this is making you feel like a stiff drink, I’m afraid spirits, liqueurs and pre-mixed drinks sold in Australia may also include GE-derived ingredients. GE soybeans or maize may be used as the “grain” base for distilling, and other sweeteners and additives may be derived from GE corn.

So what’s the good news?

A wide range of Australian and global brewers, distillers and winemakers are responding to consumer concerns about genetic engineering by removing GE-derived ingredients from their products. Stay tuned for news of our first ever Truefood Guide: Alcoholic Drinks Edition coming soon.

But what’s brewing at Foster’s?

Australia’s largest brewery, Foster’s, are yet to respond to Greenpeace enquiries about GE ingredients in their beers, ciders, spirits and wines. Fosters’ brands include Crown, Carlton, Matilda Bay, Pure Blonde, Cascade and Victoria Bitter. These may include GE-derived ingredients.

What you can do

1. Use this form to email Foster's and ask them to remove GE-derived ingredients from their products.
2. Call Foster's on 1800 007 282 and ask them to remove E-derived ingredients from their products.
3. Sign our petition calling for the comprehensive labelling and stringent safety assessment of GE food.

Truefood Network