Pagājušajā nedēļā Latvijas masu medijos parādījās ziņas par Glifosfāta klātbūtni dažos Vācijā ražotajos alos, un protams radās retorisks jautājums- kā ir ar Latvijā ražotajiem aliem?
Zemāk pievienojam oriģinālo informāciju no BestMalz iesalnīcas vadības par to, ka visiem klientiem, kuri ražošanā izmanto BestMalz iesalus nav pamata satraukumam. BestMalz iesalnīca izmanto Vācijā audzētus graudus un tajos reģionos NAV atļauts izmantot šo ķīmiju graudkopībā. To rūpīgi uzrauga vietējie dienesti, kā arī BestMalz iesalnīca veic regulāras laboratorijas analīzes.
Last week, German media have dealt extensively with a heated discussion regarding the herbicidal substance glyphosate. A private research institute in Munich claims to be able to prove that a range of well-known German beer brands contain unhealthy quantities of glyphosate. According to the results of the study, the legally prescribed maximum limits were exceeded. The findings have received wide public attention and have irritated the German general public. The substance glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide which is used by farmers to avoid weeds or other unwanted plants. If the legally prescribed limits were exceeded, it cannot be ruled out that glyphosate – like most pesticides and herbicides – could cause illnesses in humans.
BESTMALZ® has neither been directly involved in this discussion nor have we been asked by any official body to comment on the matter. However, we have still decided to inform our international partners and customers pro-actively in order to contribute to a hopefully fact-based rather than purely emotional discussion regarding this matter.
The malting barley used by BESTMALZ® originates to almost 100% from German cropfields. Most of our barley comes directly from our home regions in southwest Germany in the state of Rhineland Palatinate. According to the “Pflanzenbau” department of the rural service centre (DLR) of Rhineland-Palatinate (Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum – Rheinland-Pfalz), glyphosate is not permitted for use in grain or cereal farming. Furthermore, the substance is explicitly forbidden in the cultivation of malting barley throughout Germany. All German farmers are continually monitored regarding their use of (legally permitted) herbicides. Penalties for using illegal substances are substantial.
Glyphosate is not only illegal but also totally counterproductive in brew barley farming. It has a strongly negative effect on the vitality of the sensitive barley plants and, most importantly, on their germination potential. Germination is of course one of the most crucial features in malt used for beer brewing. Glyphosate severely diminishes germination activity in the kernels and can even terminate such potential entirely.
The laboratory analyses of our by far largest regional barley supplier regularly performed within the framework of ongoing monitoring programmes, which BESTMALZ® inspects on a continuing basis, most recently yielded glyphosate values far below the German legal limit of 20 mg/l. Frequently, results in such routine tests have even shown glyphosate values below detectable levels.
Since glyphosate is particularly ill-suited for growing malting barley for the reasons stated above, there is no reason to reinvestigate the presence of this substance in view of the continuous and very comprehensive routine in-house inspections of BESTMALZ® or any other German maltster for that matter. Furthermore, it is explicitly stated in our BESTMALZ® general purchasing terms and conditions that raw materials must meet the currently applicable maximum thresholds. They must be in line with all legal regulations and requirements.
Nonetheless, we also ourselves take random barley samples and send these to a reputed laboratory for examination. Up to now, all of the results have shown glyphosate quantities well below legally prescribed limits. In order to comfort any potential concerns of our customers in Germany and our partners abroad, we have used the occasion of recent media attention to have our latest barley deliveries again checked for glyphosate. We will of course report the results to our partners and customers so that they can react professionally to any questions that may be brought forward to them from third parties. We hope to be able to share these results next week.
Aside from entering barley during growth, glyphosate could theoretically enter the malt via fresh ground water used in the malting process. However, in the case of all our BEST malts also ground water can be completely and verifiably excluded as potential source of glyphosate contamination. The constant monitoring of our BESTMALZ® water wells reveals that within recent years, glyphosate values posing any health risks whatsoever to humans have not been detected. Likewise, the continual analyses of our externally supplied water lie below the limits of quantification.
Malt is a natural product! It must, therefore, by nature vary from day to day, from harvest to harvest, and from region to region. German farming and German malt production are among the most tightly regulated subjects in the world. These features are of critical importance and are key elements for the high appeal of malt from Germany. Due to BESTMALZ® strictly monitored testing routines of raw materials and malts, we can guarantee with a probability close to 100% that none of these contain quantities of glyphosate or any other potentially hazardous substances for that matter that pose a threat to the health of humans.
When looking at the current media coverage in Germany regarding glyphosate it may be helpful to take a closer look at some other expert opinions. Of course, the issue is far from being novel in the scientific discussion of the use of herbicides and pesticides in farming: The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR)) states in an official release earlier this week that the glyphosate values detected in the Munich study do not pose an unreasonable health risk to humans from a scientific point of view. In another press statement dated 25 February 2016, the German Brewers Association (DBB) refutes the accusations implied by the Munich study as being unfounded in all aspects. This point of view was endorsed entirely by the German Maltsters’ Association (DMB). The press release can be found under www.brauer-bund.de.
No matter which position one may take in this recent discussion, it is somewhat suspicious that the results of the above mentioned research institute were published just before a pending decision of the European Union regarding the extension of approval for glyphosate as herbicide on the European level. This decision is due next week. Interestingly, the present and future use of glyphosate in farming is recommended by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) following extensive investigations. Other parties have differing opinions and possibly conflicting economic interests which may partly explain why this discussion is taking place in Germany at this very moment.
In our opinion, everyone is entitled to present scientific views and publish these in the media for public discussion. Whether such reporting is ultimately to the consumer’s advantage, however, lies beyond of our scope of assessment.
Most important to us at BESTMALZ® is that our customers and our partners can rest assured that the products coming from our malt houses are of proven and strictly controlled German quality. They are produced with the highest possible degree of diligence during raw material sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and transporting them to our esteemed customers.
This is what BESTMALZ® quality stands for!
Dr. Axel Goehler, Chief Executive Officer
Berthold Klee, Chief Operations Officer