Archive through March 12, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru March 2002:Has Anybody Tried?:Archive through March 12, 2002
By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:33 am: Edit

arj, we cool then? please disregard my comments :)

By Barsnake on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:25 am: Edit

I did not start this out to start a fight. I looked throughout the site for any information referring to this issue - I did not crawl through the archives. If that is my fault - so be it - I'll take the heat.
I thought this was a valid question that warranted exactly what discourse followed. Up to the name calling.
I appreciate the information about the fed regs.

By Arj on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:17 am: Edit

I thought I was being called "Sicky," after having been called names earlier by Don. If not, I retract my retort to Don. I wasn't directing anything to you Sicboy. I'm a happy drunk myself. ;)

Anyone else think the absinthe ban is a good thing? That's a minority viewpoint that I don't think has been raised before. I sure don't, for the reasons stated below.

By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:08 am: Edit

lets hope so, I'm a happy drunk, not an angry one

By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:06 am: Edit

"and go piss on your own tree, not Kallisti's"

what are you implying, do tell please...

By Robman on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:04 am: Edit

I think Arj was referring to Don, Sicboy.

By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 11:00 am: Edit

what the hell, *flamer*?? screw you folks, I'm just having fun.

By Meat_Nipples on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:52 am: Edit

It's not old ground to everyone here. This is a community message board. I know it is probably in the archives somewhere; so what? If you don't like the ground people are traveling on in this thread, if you feel it is boring and redundant, you don't need to travel with them. It is that easy.

By Arj on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 10:01 am: Edit

"This whole thread is what's unwarranted. All this is old ground that has been well travelled."

I disagree. This is the most thorough examination of the regs I've seen on this board. And even if it were well-traveled, there is nothing wrong with that. There are constantly new people joining the discussion who may have something new to add. No discussion should be frozen in time because something similar was discussed two or so years ago. You can join in in the discussion or not, your choice. But trying to intimidate people who are boring you adds nothing constructive to this forum.

"why the hell would you want to?"

I'd like to get my favorite drink at my local liquor store. I'd like to see more variety in the market. I'd like to see costs come down. I'd like to see an archaic and stupid regulation fall.

"It's important to keep Big Liquor out of the absinthe business. And it's important to keep the financial incentive there for small companies that can fill the niche with quality products, otherwise there will be NO quality products."

You may have a point there. But micro-brewers have stood up to the big schlock beer companies, as have small wineries, bourbon makers, etc. And considering that big companies made quality absinthe in the 19th century and early 20th, I'm not convinced that the big companies won't eventually do so again. That they aren't now is no guarantee that the market won't eventually demand it, and that they won't meet that demand.

"And Sicky, the only way I want to have with you lot is Away."

Sicky? Considering what you do for a living and what I do, I think you better describe yourself. You can do what you want, but don't throw stones when you're living in a glass house, flamer. And go piss on your own tree, not on Kallisti's. This is an open forum.

By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:38 am: Edit

pardon me Don? I no comprende

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:33 am: Edit

You want an example? Wormwood tea is a popular tonic among fans of herbal remedies. It is perfectly legal to buy wormwood herb and to make tea with it to consume at home. However it is perfectly ILLEGAL to sell wormwood as tea. If someone were to manufacture or import a tea consisting of all or part A.absinthium they would run smack into that regulation.

Of course the reg is asinine. We ARE talking about the FDA here, and they aren't know as the Fued & Drag Admin. for nothing.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:27 am: Edit

This whole thread is what's unwarranted. All this is old ground that has been well travelled.

Unless you have a quarter of a mill or so to throw at the regulatory apparatus of the US Government you haven't a chance of changing anything unless it is for the worse, so you are just pissing and moaning. You aren't going to talk the regs away, and why the hell would you want to? It's important to keep Big Liquor out of the absinthe business. And it's important to keep the financial incentive there for small companies that can fill the niche with quality products, otherwise there will be NO quality products.

To walk even a schlock pastis like Absente or Versinthe through the maze of US regulations, probably cost their respective importers $50,000 to $100,000 in legal fees. ATF insists on approving every detail of the ingredients, labeling, packaging, etc. and that's all done by committee and in consultation with other agencies. It is a time consuming, arbitrary and expensive process. One which you people know NOTHING about. And all your blathering isn't going to change or affect it in the slightest.

And Sicky, the only way I want to have with you lot is Away.

By Arj on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 09:24 am: Edit

Thanks Blackjack. That answers my question. Leave it to the FDA to create a meaningless exception.

"but banning wormwood in the first place makes no sense either. This is a government bureaucracy we are talking about here. This suff is lucid compared to the drug-approval process..."

No argument there, amigo. :)

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 08:36 am: Edit


Quote:

Again I ask, in what food is wormwood an ingredient?



In all likelyhood, none, since it would be a pain-in-the-ass to remove and test for thujone, especially since thujone may be present from other herbs with no such restriction.

You are right, the regulation makes no sense, but banning wormwood in the first place makes no sense either. This is a government bureaucracy we are talking about here. This suff is lucid compared to the drug-approval process...

By Sicboy13 on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 08:27 am: Edit

Don, you have a way with people...Respectfully, Sam

By Arj on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 07:49 am: Edit

Look asshole, the regulation speaks about wormwood specifically. I know that thujone is contained in many culinary ingredients, sage, yarrow, cedar leaves, tansy, and oak moss included. That wasn't the issue. Read the question and reg before you go off half-cocked. Then double check it to make sure you're not responding to the voices in your head.

Again I ask, in what food is wormwood an ingredient? If you know, I'd like to hear it. And I don't think asking for a food-product or recipe is a particularly technical issue. I've had no problem with you Don up until now, but that was unwarranted.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 07:13 am: Edit

Look, STUPID. Several culinary spices, and therefore mixtures containing them, which are many, contain predominantly thujone as the essential oil.

If you are going to participate in a technical discussion, pls arm yourself with a few basic facts. Else you look like a fucking idiot.

Anyway if you think this reg looks bizarre you are going to be freaked out by the overall food and beverage codex.

By Arj on Tuesday, March 12, 2002 - 06:30 am: Edit

This regulation seems pretty bizarre. What kind of foods use wormwood? And has the FDA really ever gone and performed a thujone test on someone's dinner? Doubt it.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 10:33 pm: Edit

The FDA is lead agency on this, and ATF and Customs will just follow their lead. And FDA is notoriously intransigent about admitting it is wrong about anything.

The present lack of serious enforcement is as good a deal as you are going to get in the US, so don't rock the boat. If you agitate, things could get MUCH worse instead of better.

It is not illegal to possess absinthe, do you want it to be?

So meanwhile count your blessings.

By _Blackjack on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 06:41 pm: Edit


Quote:

It's interesting that use of wormwood isn't per se prohibited in food, so long as the final product has no thujone. Since the conventional wisdom on this board is that thujone isn't an important part of absinthe, could a thujone-free absinthe be made using wormwood that meets this regulation as well as the standards of absinthe connoisseurs?



That wouldn't work, since the regulation only allows A. absinthium-without-thujone in FOODS, not alcoholic beverages.

By Tabreaux on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 04:36 pm: Edit

The U.S. gov't felt it legally justifiable in 1912 when the banned it. Since then, with all that has been written about absinthium, thujone, toxicity, hallucinations, etc., there is far more in the current literature that speaks against it than otherwise.

By Timk on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 04:08 pm: Edit

Then surely, a legally justifiable reason for this ban on it as an alcoholic beverage additive must exist.

By Tabreaux on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 03:13 pm: Edit

It doesn't need to. A. absinthium is not a permitted constituent for alcoholic beverages.

By Arj on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 03:08 pm: Edit

it doesn't appear to

By Timk on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 02:41 pm: Edit

does the law differentiate between alpha and beta thujone?

By Arj on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 01:26 pm: Edit

I'm speculating, but maybe vermouth falls into the exception: "previously sanctioned for such use."

It's interesting that use of wormwood isn't per se prohibited in food, so long as the final product has no thujone. Since the conventional wisdom on this board is that thujone isn't an important part of absinthe, could a thujone-free absinthe be made using wormwood that meets this regulation as well as the standards of absinthe connoisseurs? If so, either the thujone would have to be taken out through chemical processes, or a wormwood would have to be made through breeding or genetic engineering to have no thujone in the first place.

By Zman7 on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 01:10 pm: Edit

The wormwood in vermouth is generally Roman Wormwood, artemisia pontica. I don't know if the regs cover this plant.

By Barsnake on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 01:08 pm: Edit

Then how about the wormwood content of vermouth?

By Arj on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 12:33 pm: Edit

Here's the regulation:


TITLE 21 -- FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER I -- FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN
SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER B -- FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
PART 172 -- FOOD ADDITIVES PERMITTED FOR DIRECT ADDITION TO FOOD FOR HUMAN
CONSUMPTION
SUBPART F -- FLAVORING AGENTS AND RELATED SUBSTANCES

21 CFR 172.510

@ 172.510 Natural flavoring substances and natural substances used in
conjunction with flavors.
Natural flavoring substances and natural adjuvants may be safely used in
food in accordance with the following conditions.

(a) They are used in the minimum quantity required to produce their intended
physical or technical effect and in accordance with all the principles of good
manufacturing practice.

(b) In the appropriate forms (plant parts, fluid and solid extracts,
concretes, absolutes, oils, gums, balsams, resins, oleoresins, waxes, and
distillates) they consist of one or more of the following, used alone or in
combination with flavoring substances and adjuvants generally recognized as safe
in food, previously sanctioned for such use, or regulated in any section of this
part.



Common name Scientific name Limitations
Artemisia (wormwood) Artemisia spp Finished food thujone
free. fn1

fn1 As determined by using the method (or, in other than alcoholic
beverages, a suitable adaptation thereof) in section 9.129 of the Official
Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists," 13th
Ed. (1980), which is incorporated by reference. Copies may be obtained from the
Association of Official Analytical Chemists International, 481 North Frederick
Ave., suite 500, Gaithersburg, MD 20877-2504, or may be examined at the Office
of the Federal Register, 1100 L St. NW., Washington, DC 20408

By Arj on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 12:20 pm: Edit

I thought there was no current statute against absinthe, but merely an FDA regulation against thujone as a food additive. If anyone has any better information on this, I'd like to hear more. It is much easier to change a regulation than a statute. If it's just a regulation, the FDA could do it without input from Congress. Maybe it's time for an absinthe lobbying group. Any manufacturers or importers up to that task?

By Chrysippvs on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 11:28 am: Edit

You just said a mouthful. From my research there are labeling issues, ATF flavoring issues, non GRAS herbs in Absinthe, import laws, etc. To attempt this one would have to have a massive amount of money and have legal experts in atleast 3 different brances of the US gov't.

In other words, virtually impossible without lots of powerful lawyers and lots of money.

- J

By Barsnake on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 11:13 am: Edit

As I was sharing a couple samples with an unindoctrinated freind it occurred to me. Has anybody ever done any research on what it would take to lift the Absinthe ban...
Laws change on a regular basis and if it can be shown that this ban was not justified then surely it can be changed.

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