An Alzheimer’s disease expert’s quest is over, but he’s not finished.
A year after he published a study linking Alzheimer’s to a small amount of a compound found in brewer’s yeast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered a recall of some beers made with the same substance, the first of several that may be recalled.
In a letter to the makers of several beers, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he is concerned that the compound in some of the beers is potentially harmful.
The agency ordered a ban on brewing with it.
Gottlieb noted that some of his findings about the potential for the substance are backed up by a review by a third-party lab, and the agency believes the safety of that testing has not been established.
The FDA ordered the companies to voluntarily stop producing the beers that contain the compound and to test for it in drinking water.
GottlieB said he expects to review the results of that test and the company’s plans to produce additional batches.
A beer can be made with brewer’s yeasts by boiling the yeast with a little water and letting it sit for a few days in a fermentation chamber that includes a small glass of water.
The yeast produces a large amount of alcohol and can cause headaches, stomach pain and diarrhea.
The compounds in brewer the yeast’s products include an enzyme called pepsin that breaks down pepsine, a sugar that’s typically used as a laxative.
Guthrieb said the companies are working to find the exact number of cases of the compound that may have been responsible for the headache and other health problems and is working with the FDA to identify the exact strain of yeast used.
The new products that were being recalled were sold by the major beer brands, including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Budweiser and Coors Light.
The company is not required to voluntarily recall the products, Gottliebs office said in a statement.
“In addition, we expect that manufacturers will continue to improve their processes to ensure that beer brewed using brewer’s products is free of this contaminant,” the agency said.
The announcement came as a big win for the breweries.
In March, a U.K.-based brewer sued the FDA over the new ban, saying it unfairly affected the brewers.