French Grocers Sell Beer, Wine and Distilled Spirits
French grocery stores sell beer, wine and distilled spirits, which
is a logical place to purchase these products. Both custom and food
law in the Western World recognize alcohol beverages as foods so
it's natural to buy them along with other foods, both in grocery
stores and restaurants. 1
Unfortunately, the United States has a long temperance tradition
which stigmatizes alcohol beverages and tries to deny their status
as foods. As long ago as the 1800s, temperance writers insisted
that alcohol was not a food. Instead, they described it as a poison
that was dangerous to life and health. 2
That long tradition continues to this day among temperance-oriented
groups. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI) insists that "alcohol is not a food." 3
But by denying that alcoholic beverages are foods and calling
them toxins, temperance-oriented activists can more easily restrict
their sale and prevent them from being sold along with other foods
in both grocery stores and restaurants. That seems to be their goal.
French thinking on the subject is correct. Alcoholic beverages
are culturally and legally foods that should be available in grocery
stores and restaurants.
- 1. Word IQ Encyclopedia
(food entry). According to the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic
Act, ch. II, Sec. 201 (321) (f), "The term "food"
means (1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals,
(2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such
article." According to the EU Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 '"food
(or foodstuff) means any substance or product, whether processed,
partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably
expected to be ingested by humans. 'Food includes drink, chewing
gum and any substance, including water, intentionally incorporated
into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment."
according to he U.K. Food Safety Act 1990 (c. 16), Part I, "'food
b ) articles and substances of no nutritional value which are used
for human consumption;
c) chewing gum and other products of a like nature and use; and
d) articles and substances used as ingredients in the preparation
of food or anything falling within this subsection."
- 2. For example, the Women's
Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) insisted that “Alcohol is
not a food or drink." However, the Committee of Fifty, a group
of scientists asked to study the "liquor problem" at the
time examined the best available scientific evidence and concluded
that alcohol is food. It is physiologically processed and treated
by he body as food. Billings, John S., et al. (for the
Committee of Fifty for the Investigation of the Liquor Problem).
Physiological Aspects of the Liquor Problem. Boston &
NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1903. In addition, the Women's Christian Temperance
Union insisted that "Medical writers, without exception, class
alcohol as a poison." The scientists of the committee of Fifty
for the Investigation of the Liquor Problem concluded that this
was another erroneous assertion. Billings, John S., et al.
(for the Committee of fifty for the Investigation of the Liquor
Problem). Physiological Aspects of the Liquor Problem.
Boston & NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1903.
- 3. Center for Science in
the Public Interest (CSPI) TTB Voluntary Labeling. August, 2004.
Available on the Alcohol Policies Project of the Center for Science
in the Public Interest web site. The Center for Science in the Public
Interest (CSPI) agrees with the Women's Christian Temperance Union
(WCTU), the Anti-Saloon League, and other temperance organizations
that "alcohol is not a food."
- The Center for Science in the Public Interest is clearly a temperance
organization. For example, the Prohibition Party's national website
lists the Center for Science in the Public Interest as a related
site. The long-time temperance activities of the Center for Science
in the Public Interests Alcohol Policies Project and its director,
activist George Hacker, appear to have been pivotal in the selection
of the CSPI by the Prohibition Party. The CSPI is listed with the
Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), best known for its role
in helping bringing about National Prohibition, as a related organization
(Prohibition Party website: www.prohibitionists.org/Related_Orgs/related_orgs.html)
- Similarly, the prohibitionist "Abstinerce From Alcohol"
website lists the Center for Science in the Public Interest as one
of three related sites. The CSPI again shares that distinction along
with the Women's Christian Temperance Union, (Abstinence From Alcoho!
website: http://hometown.aol.com/umalcohol/index.htm. The mission
of the latter is "to do the work formerly done by the Board
- The Center for Science in the Public Interest has strong neo-prohibition