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.

References

  • 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 includes—
    a) drink;
    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 of Temperance").
  • The Center for Science in the Public Interest has strong neo-prohibition credentials.