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Craft beer and mead: A trend with potentially toxic trouble

Craft beers and honey meads have both become very popular in the last decade and quite a few independent labels have started off with little more than a recipe and a home brewing kit.

Now, there's a lot of beer being made in microbreweries and home brewers are thriving—but industry experts say that the trends aren't necessarily for the best because there's a lot of bad beer being made. Thanks to lax brewing standards and under-trained brewers, opening a glass bottle of the local fruit-flavored nitrogenated micro-concoction is somewhat of a gamble.

You could also be gambling with your health.

Unfortunately, a lot of the home brewers graduate from making a batch or two for their personal consumption and trying their product out on friends to running a full-blown business without taking into account some of the dangers that their customers could face from a bad batch.

Wild yeast, fungi and bacteria are found naturally among the main grains that go into both beer and mead. Raw honey, which is used in mead and some of the more fanciful micro-beers, can be a source of botulism. While a contaminated batch that hasn't been cleared of these issues might have an "off" taste or smell, you may not even realize that what you're tasting or smelling is abnormal for that particular product unless you're very familiar with it already.

For many people, the only reason that they realize they've swallowed a contaminated product is that they end up with stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and a fever.

While most people recover from a bout of food poisoning fairly quickly, others won't. They may have a weakened immune system, are genetically susceptible to certain kinds of damage or just plain unlucky. Some of the more serious complications of food poisoning include kidney failure, reactive arthritis, trauma to the nervous system, brain damage and death.

You can hold micro-brewers responsible for unsafe and contaminated products that they put on the market. Whether it was a one-time mistake or a sign of the brewer's general failure to implement proper safety measures, a lawsuit can help you recover your financial losses—including both your known damages, such as lost wages and medical bills, and your future estimated expenses. You may also be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of your injuries.

For more information, consider speaking to an attorney about your situation.

Source: Burlington Free Press, "Craft beer trend predictions for 2017," Jeff Baker, Jan. 13, 2017

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