Alcohol content in declared non-to low alcoholic beverages: implications to pregnancy

Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Winter;17(1):e47-50. Epub 2010 Jan 4.


Background: Alcohol consumption in pregnancy may result in serious adverse fetal outcome. Non- or low alcoholic wines and beers may be a risk-reduction strategy to help alcohol-dependent individuals to prevent or limit ethanol consumption. The objective of this study was to quantify ethanol concentrations in Canadian beverages claiming to contain no or low alcohol content.

Methods: Forty-five different beverages claiming to contain no or low alcohol content in the Canadian market were tested for ethanol concentration using gas chromatography.

Results: Thirteen (29%) of the beverages contained ethanol levels higher than the declared concentration on their label. Six beverages claiming to contain no alcohol were found to contain greater than 1% ethanol.

Conclusion: Pregnant women seeking replacement to alcoholic beverages may be misled by these labels, unknowingly exposing themselves and their unborn babies to ethanol.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Alcoholic Beverages / analysis*
  • Beer / analysis
  • Beverages / analysis*
  • Canada
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Ethanol / analysis*
  • Female
  • Food Labeling
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Wine / analysis


  • Ethanol