Now Found in Some Australian Wines: Laxative Agent

No, it's not part of some weird plot to mess with your bowels
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2011 1:43 PM CST
Mmmm, sodium carboxymethyl.   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Those with delicate bowels may want to steer clear of wine from the Land Down Under. Winemakers there are now allowed to add sodium carboxymethyl cellulose to wine—a chemical lauded for its laxative powers. But in small quantities it can thicken liquids, and when it comes to wine, adding the chemical can eliminate crystallization and cloudiness from whites, reports California Watch. Dealing with the former is an expensive problem, explains the country's winemakers, usually achieved using energy-draining methods like cooling and filtration.

"I don't think the levels that are approved for use in wine ... will give that laxative effect," said the general counsel for the trade group for California's wine industry ("think," being the operative word, notes your wine-loving Newser editors). The ingredient hasn't been OKed in US wines, but it's legal in wines imported to the US ... and won't grace the label, so you won't know if you're drinking it. But you've probably actually already done so: The chemical is an approved additive in the EU, too. (Read more wine stories.)

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