Is root beer still made with sassafras?

Answered by Nicholas Phillips

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently tell you that root is no longer made with sassafras. In the past, sassafras was a key ingredient in root beer, lending it a distinct flavor. However, it was discovered that sassafras contains a compound called safrole, which has been linked to liver damage and cancer. As a result, the use of sassafras in food and beverages, including root beer, has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The discovery of the potential health risks associated with sassafras was a significant turning point in the history of root beer production. Breweries and soft drink companies had to reformulate their recipes to ensure the safety of their products. This led to the removal of sassafras as an ingredient in root beer.

Nowadays, root beer is made using a variety of ingredients that mimic the flavors of the original sassafras-infused recipes. These ingredients typically include wintergreen, licorice, anise, and various herbs and spices. The combination of these ingredients creates the signature taste that we associate with root beer.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to taste both traditional sassafras-based root beer and the , sassafras-free versions. While the original recipe had a unique and nostalgic flavor, the new recipes are still delicious and enjoyable. The absence of sassafras does not take away from the overall experience of drinking root beer.

It is worth noting that even though sassafras is no longer used in root beer production, it does have other uses. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits. However, due to its potential risks, it is important to exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before using sassafras for medicinal purposes.

Root beer is no longer made with sassafras due to the health concerns associated with its compound, safrole. The industry has adapted by using alternative ingredients to recreate the distinct flavor of root beer. While the absence of sassafras may have changed the composition of root beer, it has not diminished its appeal or popularity.