Careful what you wish for…

~I’ve said it before and will say it one more time: wine is not health food. But is wine food at all, and if so, does it promote health?
~Last week I read the following quote by a British spokesperson for
an outfit known as Cancer Research, UK:

“There is a lot of confusion over safe levels of drinking.”

~If the above is not an understatement I’m not a white male blogger looking for an excuse to be heard…
~The spokesperson was referring to the results of a study that her organization just released which says that just one glass of wine or beer a day increases the risk of bowel cancer by 10%.
~A couple of weeks ago I read the results of a Harvard Men’s Health Watch study that claimed men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are 48% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who do not drink red wine.
~By now, all of you must have heard of the 40 or so studies that claim moderate wine consumption is good for us and that the chemical in red wine, resveratrol, protects us from heart disease and possibly cancer.
~How many of you remember the statistics that show how much wine one would have to consume to benefit from the resveratrol?
~The answer is not in glasses a day but in the impossible count of bottles a day.

We don’t remember the negative stats because we want to believe the positive ones.

~The wine industry and its promotional organizations like to shout about the seemingly good news concerning health and moderate wine consumption, plus they like to tell us that wine is good food.
~Fine, but the federal government never believed that wine is food. If it did, it would have given regulation of the product to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
~When the federal government came up with the idea to raise revenue through excise taxes on alcohol, it lumped wine in with evil drink and tobacco—the sin tax mentality.

Wine used to be lumped in with firearms, but after decades of that insanity, the government has un-lumped it—but in name only. If you don’t believe me, apply for a license to produce wine; you’ll feel like you were asking for permission to engage in something unsavory. In fact, it’s probably less of a hassle to get a gun license than it is to get a license to produce wine.

~Anyway, the wine industry and its promo hacks spoke loud and clear about the product’s food value, so loud that they once again awakened the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and other such oxymoronically-named organizations.
~In its infinite desire to make sure that all Americans think and live the way its zealot founder does, CSPI has petitioned the federal government to mandate that wine labels come with nutritional information on them, like all other food labels.
~You would think there are two problems with the nutritional label idea:

First, if, as the government and CSPI have tried to make us believe in the past, wine is not food, why should it contain nutritional information?

Second, the FDA does not regulate wine labels, the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau does (TTB).

Since TTB doesn’t regulate food it hasn’t required nutritional labels.

~The solutions to the two problems:

CSPI cries UNCLE! OK, the moralists say, wine is food, now put its nutritional value on the label.

The federal government all of a sudden seems to think that wine is food. TTB entertains the idea of mandating nutritional labels on wine and it goes through the motions of asking for public input.

~TTB is likely to mandate the nutritional label, but if it doesn’t this time, it will be only a matter of time before CSPI and its friends prevail. Remember, this is the organization mainly responsible for promoting the disingenuous GOVERNMENT WARNING and the meaningless CONTAINS SULFITE labeling.
~Congratulations are in order to the wine industry and its promotion hacks. You’ve persuaded CSPI and the government that wine is food. I wouldn’t bet, however, on either organization going all the way and referring to the revenue-raiser as health food.
~In fact, after the nutritional labels get onto the bottles, you will then see what CSPI can really do to mess with our lives—watch for the many “new” findings about what is or isn’t contained in wine.
~Watch the FDA; it wouldn’t surprise me if that outfit makes a grab at regulating wine labels.
~Do you suppose CSPI has any friends at FDA?

TTB SeattleTimes Wine&Vines


Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
August, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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