While food poisoning cases from beer are rare, new research from Cornell University finds that low- and non-alcoholic beer can be breeding grounds for gnarly bacteria when brewed or stored improperly.
The study says that “nontraditional beers lack one important hurdle to bacterial growth: ethanol concentration.”
“In addition, high pH, high sugar concentration, low [carbon dioxide], and low hop bittering compounds make these beverages more susceptible to spoilage microorganisms and foodborne pathogen growth.”
Low-alcohol beers have less than 2.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), while non-alcoholic beers have less than 0.5% ABV.
Sales of non-alcoholic beer rose 32% from a year earlier in the 52 weeks through Sept. 9 and averaged 31% growth over four years.
The research suggests that manufacturers prioritize and maintain food safety plans along with practices specific to low- and nonalcoholic beer manufacturers…To raise the bar, they recommend having low- and non-alcoholic beers undergo pasteurization and reducing microbial risk via sterile filtration and the addition of preservatives.
Kegs, draught system tubing, and faucets should be sanitized regularly, and good handling and cleaning practices should be followed in the manufacturing process.
It’s essentially unto the brewers before it ends up in your hands…