Thujone in Absinthe Quiz

Thujone in Absinthe

What was the legal thujone level in absinthe set by the French in 1907? You choose:

(i) 35mg

(ii) 100mg

(iii) 250mg

(iv) 1000mg

(v) There were no limits on thujone (alpha or beta)

5 responses to “Thujone in Absinthe Quiz

  1. Is there something missing? mg per ??
    Or am I missing something?

  2. Hi lojol

    “The original concentration of Old absinthe was about 260 parts per million of alpha-thujone” says Solano (2002)

    Annex II of Directive 88/388/EEC (EEC, 1988) – as we all know🙂 says

    “the following maximum levels for thujone (a and b) in foodstuffs and beverages to which flavourings or other food ingredients with flavouring properties have been added: 0.5 mg/kg in foodstuffs and beverages with the exception of

    5 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages with not more than
    25% volume of alcohol

    10 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages with more than 25% volume of alcohol

    35 mg/kg in bitters.

    Thujone may not be added as such to food.

    The French law of 1907 set the benchmark at 1000mg😯

  3. “The original concentration of Old absinthe was about 260 parts per million of alpha-thujone”
    How did they get this number?

  4. Gas chromatography with flame ionization detectors.
    Is that the right answer?

  5. “Gas chromatography with flame ionization detectors”
    If only that was the right answer.
    Most high numbers* come from earlier reports where thujone levels were guesstimated, no actual tests were done. Every solid test (most using Gas chroma and mass spec) has shown those guesstimates to be quite high.
    Of course that doesn’t stop these large numbers from still making the rounds.

    The UC berkley study again makes the assumption people drank enough thujone for it to matter. We eat plenty of things everyday that could kill in large quantities, luckily we never eat/drink enough to have any serious effect.

    *The 260ppm most likely comes from an article written by Arnold for Sci-Am in the early 90s about Van Gogh.

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