Can foods falsify an alcohol test?


Can foods falsify urine alcohol tests? Scientists investigated this question in a study and came to the conclusion that fruit juices or sauerkraut only slightly increase the EtG value.

Caught alcohol offenders on the road may have to go through urine tests time and again to prove that they are not drinking alcohol. However, the argument is repeatedly raised that food could falsify the result. But a study has now found that the influence of certain foods on blood values ​​is much less than previously thought.

On Monday, the University of Bonn presented a new study that shows that the influence of foods such as sauerkraut has only a very slight influence on the blood picture. Again and again the tested ones claim that they only ate something "wrong" and therefore the values ​​would be falsified. But this argument can hardly apply in the future. The researchers investigated whether the current limit for the alcohol breakdown product ethyl glucuronide (EtG) in the urine can be exceeded after eating certain foods with a low alcohol value. The ethyl glucuronide value can also be determined a few days after an extensive consumption of alcohol in the urine. "People who tested positive repeatedly claim that they had consumed large quantities of such products shortly before this 24-hour period," reports the Bonn medical examiner Professor Dr. Frank Musshoff. "We have now experimentally checked whether this can actually lead to a limit being exceeded." The arguments of those affected could thus be refuted.

The urine sample should determine the EtG value and prove whether the person concerned has consumed alcohol
In order for alcohol offenders to prove that they are abstinent, they have to do a urine test up to six times within six months. During this test, the EtG value is determined, which shows how many alcohol the person has drunk. So that the results cannot be falsified, the sinners are only informed 24 hours before the urine is dispensed. Those affected are also informed that certain foods may no longer be consumed within the 24 hours. This includes products such as sauerkraut, ripe bananas, grape juice and also non-alcoholic beer. Only when all six test results show that the person has not drunk alcohol can they get the driver's license again. But if the result is positive, many claim to have eaten sauerkraut or drunk grape juice. The scientists now wanted to take a closer look at exactly this effect.

The limit should be maintained
The Bonn study should now clarify to what extent the limit can actually be exceeded. The study participants drank either up to three liters of non-alcoholic beer, two liters of juice, ate 1.3 kilograms of sauerkraut or 700 grams of bananas. After 30 hours, the EtG limit was only slightly exceeded by 0.1 milligrams per liter of urine. After three to seven hours, the maximum value for the test subjects was reached, after which the EtG value decreased. After 24 hours, the value for all subjects was well below 0.1 milligrams. The limit value does not have to be adjusted because the test results are hardly influenced by food or juices. A total of 19 subjects took part in the study. Alcohol offenders now have less excuse to justify increased urine levels.

EtG is an alcohol consumption marker that can still be detected from the body some time after complete ethanol elimination. In previous studies, the substance "EtG" could be detected in the urine of alcoholics for up to 80 hours. In contrast to blood alcohol, etg is broken down more slowly by the body and is later excreted in the urine. For this reason, the procedure is best suited to continue to convict alcohol offenders. (sb, 04.10.2010)

Image: RainerSturm / pixelio.de

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