The Oldest Food Regulation in the World

Beer LawIn Augsburg, Bavaria during the last half of the 15th century, a purity law with respect to brewing practices was adopted. It was called Reinheitsgebot and is still around today. Brewers were using cheap ingredients and substitutes in their beer trying to increase their profits and in turn, creating a bad tasting and sometimes lethal beverage. Punishment under this law resulted in the beer being destroyed and the brewer being fined. The only allowable ingredients were water, hops and barley. (The effects of yeast were unknown at the time and thus have only recently been added to the list of allowable ingredients.)

This law that started in Augsburg, was expanded to all of Bavaria in 1516, and finally adopted throughout Germany. The law led to Germany’s reputation for consistency and quality. The law remains in effect today for Germany’s 900 plus breweries, as does Germany’s reputation for quality and consistency.

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