Posts Tagged ‘certifications’
Here we are, checking in a year later, after this post on GMO labeling. TTB still does not allow GMO labeling of the sort depicted above. This sort of labeling seems to be sweeping across the grocery store, but not in the alcohol beverage aisle. We have at least two bases for saying this. First of all, there is this recent Needs Correction (NC) notice. It says the GMO talk is misleading, therapeutic and not acceptable.
Second, we checked through LabelVision and see essentially no GMO-related labels. It is pretty amazing that few if any seem to have slipped through, even though this list tends to say quite a few alcohol beverage products meet the Non-GMO Profect standards.
This NC notice is good because it also happens to cover a few other issues. It reminds us that grape varietal terms should not be used on flavored wine products. It also reminds us that if you have something like a margarita-flavored wine product, it may be necessary to clearly mention that it’s a “wine cocktail.”
I would like to know if the above beer qualifies as Non GMO. I would also like to know, without a big hassle. I am sitting here with blazing fast internet and a big screen, and yet I remain in the dark as to whether this beer can be considered Non GMO. It would only be more confusing at the point of purchase, with less time and a smaller screen.
On the one hand, a recent press release claims Peak beers are the first to qualify to use the logo depicted at upper right on the image above. On the other hand, I can’t find any approved labels with the same seal (and the above is of course not the actual label). The actual label, as approved, is here. As of 2011, TTB said:
TTB has received several Certificates of Label Approval (COLA) applications proposing to display bioengineered-related information on alcohol beverage labels. Terms frequently mentioned in discussions about labeling alcohol beverages with respect to bioengineering include “GMO free” and “GM free.” “GMO” is an acronym for “genetically modified organism” and “GM” means “genetically modified.” The terms “genetically modified organism” and “genetically modified” are not synonymous with the term “bioengineered foods.” Plants can be genetically modified using any number of techniques, new or traditional.
TTB believes it is not necessary to mandate any bioengineered food labeling requirements at this time. We also find that it is misleading to refer voluntarily to those bioengineered food labeling terms or any similar references on alcohol beverage labels. This is consistent with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s position.
And yet FDA does seem to allow the Non GMO seal. Here is but one example (Silk almond milk). A Kashi cereal example is here. The seal and certifications are sponsored by the Non-GMO Project, “a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices.”
As of a few weeks ago, this suggests TTB was looking into it further.
Maybe John has been asleep at the switch, but this is one of the first vegan beers we have seen come down the pike. Rebecca’s Divine Wit is Vegan Beer Brewed with Oranges and Coriander.
Wikipedia (not Wikileaks) says veganism is:
a philosophy and lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor to never consume or use any animal products of any type. The most common reasons for becoming, or remaining, vegan are moral conviction concerning animal rights or welfare, health, environmental concerns, and spiritual or religious concerns.
I suppose some beers have a bit of animal matter, in the form of isinglass or gelatin. This site explains and provides a helpful guidepost. So far as we know, TTB treats this term more like “biodynamic” or “premium” and less like “organic” or “Meritage.” Perhaps, when there are more vegan labels for alcohol beverages, the policy will get more clear. For a wine example, here is Flint Hills Red Wine (“for vegan enjoyment”).
Biodynamic wines (such as above) are fairly popular. Fork & Bottle lists 521 Biodynamic wine producers around the world. Demeter owns the “registered certification marks” associated with this term and describes it as follows:
Critical to the BIODYNAMIC® method of farming is Goethean observation of nature and the application of such view to a farming system. Observation in this manner embraces nature as an interconnected whole, a totality, an organism endowed with archetypal rhythm.
It involves manure, skulls and deer bladders. Wineanorak describes these steps:
Cow manure fermented in a cow horn, which is then buried and over-winters in the soil. … Flower heads of yarrow fermented in a stag’s bladder. … Oak bark fermented in the skull of a domestic animal. … Flower heads of dandelion fermented in cow mesentery.
The Zinquisition is skeptical about the benefits, and Vinography describes it as: “a maddening, paradoxical mixture of scientifically sound farming practices and utterly ridiculous new-age mysticism.”
A long, detailed article in the San Francisco News sums it up this way, quoting Peter Cargasacchi of Cargasacchi Vineyards:
“A lot of these guys have MBAs and science degrees, and they’re out there using Biodynamics as their marketing program. Well, shame on them.” Ted Hall of organic Long Meadow Ranch in Rutherford adds, “It’s important that people understand that organic farming is a sophisticated, science-based approach not based on a belief system. … [Biodynamics] is a fad, because it is not based on substance. It will not persist over a long period.” … And yet many of the world’s most influential wine writers, including Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, have become enthusiastic supporters of Biodynamics. Its self-proclaimed position as the “Rolls-Royce of organics” has allowed winesellers to win over overtly environmental shoppers, while Biodynamicists’ claim to craft the world’s most distinctive wines has ensnared connoisseurs.
So far as we can tell, TTB has its hands full with organic, meritage and allergens, and has not set forth a policy on Biodynamics to date.