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Bioloical and Alergenic Study Papers.

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Hi All

Im looking for some sort of Study or paper that states that there is no real risk of biological contamination hazard in Alcohol beverages over 15% ABV.
Also looking for the same "study / papers" that states there is no real risk of allergenic contamination in distilled spirits.

Can anyone advise me or point me in the right direction please.
Ive tried to google but apparently I really suck at googleing ūüėē


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You're gonna want to use PubMed for something like that. Way too much noise using Google. However, it doesn't look like either of the things you want to find are true. There are a lot of things that can contaminate fermented beverages even over 15% and turns out there are a lot of different allergen problems as well (I learned something new).

Here are some articles I found on a cursory search. You could go into more detail and refine what you're looking for.


Biological Contaminants


Beverage spoilage yeast detection methods and control technologies: A review of Brettanomyces.

Tubia I, Prasad K, Pérez-Lorenzo E, Abadín C, Zumárraga M, Oyanguren I, Barbero F, Paredes J, Arana S.

Int J Food Microbiol. 2018 Oct 20;283:65-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2018.06.020. Epub 2018 Jun 26.

PMID: 30099997 Review.


Traditional grain alcohol (bai jiu, [Symbol: see text]) production and use in rural central China: implications for public health.

Qian L, Newman IM, Xiong W, Feng Y.

BMC Public Health. 2015 Dec 19;15:1261. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2594-4.

PMID: 26687080 Free PMC article.


Microbial diversities and potential hazards of Korean turbid rice wines (makgeolli): Multivariate analyses.

Kim NH, Jun SH, Lee SH, Hwang IG, Rhee MS.

Food Microbiol. 2018 Dec;76:466-472. doi: 10.1016/j.fm.2018.07.008. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

PMID: 30166175


Mycotoxins and beer. Impact of beer production process on mycotoxin contamination. A review.

Pascari X, Ramos AJ, Marín S, Sanchís V.

Food Res Int. 2018 Jan;103:121-129. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.07.038. Epub 2017 Oct 12.

PMID: 29389598 Review.


Influence of microbial and chemical contaminants on the yield and quality of ethanol from wheat grains.

Bartkiene E, Juodeikiene G, Zadeike D, Baliukoniene V, Bakutis B, Cizeikiene D.

J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Mar 30;99(5):2348-2355. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9433. Epub 2018 Dec 30.

PMID: 30338535


Starter cultures as biocontrol strategy to prevent Brettanomyces bruxellensis proliferation in wine.

Berbegal C, Spano G, Fragasso M, Grieco F, Russo P, Capozzi V.

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Jan;102(2):569-576. doi: 10.1007/s00253-017-8666-x. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

PMID: 29189899 Free PMC article. Review.


Microbial contamination of fuel ethanol fermentations.

Beckner M, Ivey ML, Phister TG.

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2011 Oct;53(4):387-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2011.03124.x. Epub 2011 Aug 2.

PMID: 21770989 Review.


Ingredients and contaminants of traditional alcoholic beverages in Tanzania.

Nikander P, Seppälä T, Kilonzo GP, Huttunen P, Saarinen L, Kilima E, Pitkänen T.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1991 Jan-Feb;85(1):133-5. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(91)90187-4.

PMID: 2068743




Allergic and intolerance reactions to wine.

W√ľthrich B.

Allergol Select. 2018 Sep 1;2(1):80-88. doi: 10.5414/ALX01420E. eCollection 2018.

PMID: 31826033 Free PMC article. Review.


Development of a mass spectrometry immunoassay for unambiguous detection of egg allergen traces in wines.

Pilolli R, Chaudhari R, Palmisano F, Monaci L.

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2017 Feb;409(6):1581-1589. doi: 10.1007/s00216-016-0099-3. Epub 2016 Dec 7.

PMID: 27928610


Implementation of an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay for the Quantification of Allergenic Egg Residues in Red Wines Using Commercially Available Antibodies.

Koestel C, Simonin C, Belcher S, Rösti J.

J Food Sci. 2016 Aug;81(8):T2099-106. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13378. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

PMID: 27356183 Free PMC article.


A Rapid Assay to Detect Toxigenic Penicillium spp. Contamination in Wine and Musts.

Sanzani SM, Miazzi MM, di Rienzo V, Fanelli V, Gambacorta G, Taurino MR, Montemurro C.

Toxins (Basel). 2016 Aug 8;8(8):235. doi: 10.3390/toxins8080235.

PMID: 27509524 Free PMC article.


Impact of wine manufacturing practice on the occurrence of fining agents with allergenic potential.

Deckwart M, Carstens C, Webber-Witt M, Schäfer V, Eichhorn L, Schröter F, Fischer M, Brockow K, Christmann M, Paschke-Kratzin A.

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014;31(11):1805-17. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2014.963700. Epub 2014 Oct 9.

PMID: 25208236


Towards absolute quantification of allergenic proteins in food--lysozyme in wine as a model system for metrologically traceable mass spectrometric methods and certified reference materials.

Cryar A, Pritchard C, Burkitt W, Walker M, O'Connor G, Burns DT, Quaglia M.

J AOAC Int. 2013 Nov-Dec;96(6):1350-61. doi: 10.5740/jaoacint.12-438.

PMID: 24645514


Potential food allergens in wine: double-blind, placebo-controlled trial and basophil activation analysis.

Rolland JM, Apostolou E, Deckert K, de Leon MP, Douglass JA, Glaspole IN, Bailey M, Stockley CS, O'Hehir RE.

Nutrition. 2006 Sep;22(9):882-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2006.06.002.

PMID: 16928473 Clinical Trial.


Any scientific study even remotely related to human or animal health can be found on PubMed.

Happy Hunting!

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By the way, if an article you want is behind a paywall and the abstract doesn't give you all the details you need, try Sci-Hub.


You just enter the PMID number found below the title of the paper on PubMed and, if it's one of the millions of papers they managed to get their hands on, you can download the PDF.

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I'm impressed, a guy in the the Galapagos Islands helping a guy in the UK by providing information on a US government website and a Taiwanese website to get scientific research papers.  Amazing!

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Thanks Galapadoc

Wow !! That's a ton of info !!! But perhaps I should have been a bit more specific in my request.
I'm filling out the UK gov HACCP plan generator. I have to justify my assumptions about critical control points. These being that there is no real risk of biological hazards in distilled spirits over 15% ABV. At least, I thought that's what I had read somewhere.
I will be producing spirits of at least 25% ABV but just used the 15% ABV as I thought that is what I had read, but Im damned if I can find where I read it now.
Also, I know i read somewhere that it is accepted that allergens do not cause a hazard in distilled spirits as the distillation process removes the risk of contamination.

I'll have to give the PubMed a try to see if I can find what I'm looking for.

Thanks for your help. Much appreciated !

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That's more like something you'd find in a textbook rather than in a study. That kind of premise would have been established so long ago that nobody bothers to publish studies on it anymore (unless they discover it wasn't true the whole time). I saw a lot of studies in there about biological contaminants in beverages over 15%, but those are fermented beverages. I can't think of any biological contaminant that could survive the distillation process. Maybe a really hardy fungal spore, but probably not one that causes human disease. 

Chapter 20 of The Alcohol Textbook covers biological contamination. That's a reliable source that you should be able to cite as evidence. If they demand actual studies, the bibliography at the end of the chapter should point you in the right direction, though I imagine any studies that establish such basic principles are at least 100 years old. Most of that work was done by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century.

Allergens are a stickier topic. Literally anything can be an allergen, so botanicals, flavorings or even water (yes, one can develop an allergy to water) can all fall under that category. People can be allergic to the esters in the wood used to make barrels, the cork used to seal a bottle, etc. No two humans are identical and anyone can become allergic to anything over the course of their lifetime. Do they specify any kind of parameters? Are they just worried about common allergens that can get mixed in through cross contamination? In the food industry, that's usually simply a statement like this product is/isn't manufactured in a facility that also processes nuts/peanuts/eggs or whatever common food allergens they specify.

Are there any local trade organizations in your area? If this is a government requirement, surely someone has already navigated through this and can simply copy/paste whatever you need to satisfy the bureaucrats. Seems to me, the department responsible for issuing permits for what you're making should already have established guidelines rather than asking each individual distiller to create their own.

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Thanks again Galapadoc
As far as I can figure, Its all a bit vague. When I called Health and safety I was told there was no wrong way to develop a HACCP plan. I found the online .gov site that develops the plan for you by answering questions. The penultimate section basically asked you to prove your assumptions with evidence.
I think I have what I need. If there are any issues then I can look further, I was hoping that someone that had been through all this might have jumped in but hey ho ūüėē
Thank you for your help !!!

Thanks Thatch

If I need to dig further I can ask around there !

Cheers !

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Perhaps you are looking at the issue incorrectly. You state that you read somewhere  that distillation  removes the risk......   You then also talk about producing a beverage at between 15-25 ABV.   These are really two completely different scenarios.  

Yes, one can virtually assume without reasonable doubt, that distillation removes/kills contaminates as you will have to distill to at least 70%ABV to make a consumable product.

No, you can't guarantee that as you continue to reduce that distillate in proof, that it will remain contaminate free. That will depend almost entirely on your finishing process and addition of post distillate additives. 



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Also looking for the same "study / papers" that states there is no real risk of allergenic contamination in distilled spirits.

Perhaps theoretically, but the concern is reintroduction of contaminants via dust or otherwise, post distillation.  This kind of cross-contamination issue is the rationale behind the peanut warning (above).  Even if the product doesn't contain them, there is a risk that the product might have been contaminated, because of proximity, people, etc.  Clearly, this is a kind of "worst-case" scenario, and probably not common for most of us.  But ... it does come up when discussion gluten free wheat spirits.  Can gluten make it through the distillation process?  No.  But what happens when the nano-distillery is milling wheat 10 feet from the bottling area?

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