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Sunday, 17 February, 2002, 12:28 GMT
Vitamins in beer plan considered
Beer drinker
The executive is considering the health benefits
Vitamins could be added to beer in an attempt to reduce alcohol-related health problems in Scotland.

A Scottish Executive document argues that adding the vitamin thiamin to beer could to prevent some forms of alcohol-related brain damage.

It has begun an investigation into the possibility of asking brewers to introduce the vitamin into their products.

The move is part of an drive by ministers to reduce the number of alcohol-related deaths and illnesses brought about by over-drinking.

We have asked advisers to look at scientific evidence of putting the vitamin into alcohol

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman
A spokeswoman for the executive said ministers were in the early stages of looking into the possibility of adding thiamin, also known as Vitamin B1.

She also revealed 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.

Long-term abuse

The document states: "Adding thiamin to beer is an effective way to prevent some forms of alcohol-related brain damage."

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 north of the border.

"We work with the drink and hospitality industry to reduce alcohol-related problems and this move would by no means signal an anti-alcohol stance by us."

See also:

02 Jul 01 | Health
27 Apr 00 | Health
07 May 99 | Health
25 Jun 99 | Health
15 Apr 00 | Health
31 Oct 99 | Health
20 Oct 99 | Health
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