Vitamin-fortified beer?

Scots consider asking brewers to add thiamin to their products

Feb 19, 2002 - Officials in Scotland are investigating an idea to add the vitamin thiamin -- also known as Vitamin B1 -- to beer because it might reduce alcohol-related health problems.


Those officials have begun an investigation into the possibility of asking brewers to introduce the vitamin into their products.

A spokeswoman the Scottish Executive said ministers were in the early stages of looking into the possibility of adding thiamin to prevent some forms of alcohol-related brain damage. She also said they backed moves to put extra information on the drinks labels outlining how many units were contained in the products.

"We have asked advisers to look at scientific evidence of putting the vitamin into alcohol and to see what, if any, benefits it would bring," she said. "We will wait and see what evidence we receive before deciding what action to take." The move has been outlined in an executive document entitled Plan for Action, which has been backed by more than 1m of public funds.

One of the reasons behind the proposal is to help heavy drinkers who are more likely to suffer from a deficiency of thiamin because of long-term abuse. The spokeswoman added: "If adding this vitamin can reduce the suffering of chronically ill people then the executive has a responsibility to consider doing all it can to help."

She said the plans were not meant as "anti-alcohol" legislation but could be one of the next steps taken by the executive to improve alcohol awareness.

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