1985 diethylene glycol wine scandal

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1985 Diethylene Glycol Wine Scandal was a significant event in the wine industry that took place in Austria. The scandal involved the illegal use of diethylene glycol, a toxic substance, in the production of wine. This incident had a profound impact on the Austrian wine industry and led to significant changes in wine production regulations.

Background[edit | edit source]

In the early 1980s, the Austrian wine industry was thriving, with a significant increase in both domestic consumption and exports. However, in 1985, it was discovered that several Austrian wineries were adding diethylene glycol, a chemical commonly used in antifreeze, to their wines. This was done to increase the sweetness and body of the wines, particularly in those years when the grapes did not naturally produce enough sugar.

Discovery and Impact[edit | edit source]

The scandal was uncovered when German laboratories, conducting routine tests on imported wines, detected the presence of diethylene glycol. The news quickly spread, leading to a massive recall of Austrian wines. The scandal had a devastating impact on the Austrian wine industry, with exports dropping by more than 90% in the following years.

The 1985 Diethylene Glycol Wine Scandal also had significant health implications. While no deaths were directly linked to the scandal, diethylene glycol is toxic and can cause serious health problems, including kidney damage and neurological disorders.

Aftermath and Regulatory Changes[edit | edit source]

In the aftermath of the scandal, the Austrian government took swift action to restore confidence in its wine industry. Strict new regulations were introduced, including tighter controls on wine production and stricter penalties for fraud. These measures, along with a renewed focus on quality, helped the Austrian wine industry to recover and regain its reputation.

Today, the 1985 Diethylene Glycol Wine Scandal is often cited as a cautionary tale in the wine industry, highlighting the importance of stringent quality controls and ethical production practices.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD