Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just The Facts, Man

I was sitting on the wooden desk facing away from a wall of windows in the small sunroom, with one foot propped up on his chair and the other dangling down. Tad was sitting at the desk, facing his laptop, trying to upload music files I had emailed him. It was that warm, sunny, spring Saturday last week and at 3 in the afternoon, we had no where to be.

"you want a beer?" he asked me, "I've got a different one you can try."

"Sure why not."

He gets up, goes to the mini fridge and pulls out a Blue Moon - Honeymoon Summer Ale, Belgium White brew. Blue Moon is my favorite beer so I was intrigued and read the label. Winner of two national beer awards and "brewed with honey and orange peel. The perfect summer beverage." Mmm sounds delicious.

Then I realized those were the only ingredients on the label. I mean, I did take Bio101 so I know beer is made with hobbs, water, malt and yeast, but what about the ingredient that food labels typically get away with: natural ingredients or glucose and so many others.

It then occurred to me that the bottle lacked the nutrition facts as well, so did the box, so did all of Tad's roommate's collection of whiskey and tequila bottles. I've heard drinking a glass of red wine every day was good for your heart, but I wanted to know how my Summer Ale factored into my daily intake of nutrients.

Curious and resourceful (being the journalism major that I am), I jumped on Tad's laptop to find the answer. I began with the most trusted source - other blogs and message boards, but to my surprise, I found little discussion about it. One message board participant said alcohol lacks nutrition facts because it's not required by law to include them. Is that true?

Sure enough, after about 20 minutes of skimming over FDA regulation details online, it appeared that alcohol was absent from the food label section. I was left feeling disappointed because I was hoping for some more concrete explanation as to why alcohol didn't have to have a label, rather than it just not be regulated at all. I guess that's why grain alcohol is allowed to be sold on the market at 190 proof, just as long as it has the pregnancy warning label on it. Another funny hole in the system.

I think I'll write to my local congressman to see if maybe he can push a bill through. I feel I deserve the right to know how much my tasty liquid treat adds to my 2,000 calorie recommended diet.

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