There are many factors that make it difficult to accurately estimate your blood alcohol content (BAC). Studies show that as your BAC increases, your ability to accurately estimate your level of intoxication decreases. Now, you might not even be able to trust the labels on the alcohol containers to accurately tell you how much alcohol you are even consuming.
According to USAToday, a popular gin was recalled in early May for an error in the alcohol content. Although the liquor normally has an alcohol content of 44 percent, tests of the distributed Bombay Sapphire discovered that certain bottles contained more than 77 percent alcohol.
USAToday stated that Bacardi, the company that produces Bombay Sapphire, issued the recall themselves after a consumer complaint was issued.
Shockingly enough, this wasn’t the first incident of recalled alcohol in Ontario. Just two months earlier, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario issued a recall for a batch of Georgian Bay vodka that was also bottled before being properly diluted. In both instances, the liquor contained nearly double the amount of alcohol, and an article from BBC News reported that this mistake was traced back to the production line.
This can be a huge problem with safety. If a person thinks they know their limit based on an amount rather than staying in tune with their body and the way that it feels, they might become more likely to drink past their own tolerance as well as the legal limit.
Although this issue has recently been related to hard liquor, previous years have shown that incorrectly labelled alcohol has been common in wine. According to Rehab 4 Alcoholism, in 2015, there was a similar occurrence with wine labels printing incorrect information regarding the alcohol content.
In a study conducted by the University of California at Davis titled “False Label Claims About High and Rising Alcohol Content of Wine,” more than 100,000 bottles of wine were tested. Within that testing, 60 percent of those bottles had 0.42 percent more alcohol than what the label claimed.
The lead researcher of the study, Professor Julian Alston, noted that even though numerically, the difference in alcohol content on the label and actual alcohol content weren’t different by a huge margin, it could still modify the behavior of the consumer.
“A discrepancy of 0.4 percentage points might not seem large relative to an actual value of 13.6 percent alcohol by volume, but even errors of this magnitude could lead consumers to underestimate the amount of alcohol they have consumed in ways that could have some consequences for their health and driving safety,” Alston said.
Moving forward, it’s important to not only be aware of possible discrepancies on alcohol labels, but to also know what your body can handle, what your own personal limit is.
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