Soft drink industry defends additive labelling

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drinks

The soft drinks industry has denied claims that its policy
on additive labelling is failing to alert consumers to the
possible risk of consuming its products.

The response follows yesterday's release of findings by the Food Commission suggesting that some additives that merit warnings when used in medication, were going unnoticed in soft drinks formulation. The disagreement comes at a time when additive labelling within beverage manufacturing, as well as the wider food industry in general, is coming under increasing scrutiny Any decision therefore to move ahead with the report's recommended proposals of including additive warnings on soft drinks could force a rethink of current beverage guidelines, and perhaps even re-formulation in some cases. And industry believes that such measures are unnecessary, claiming consumers have nothing to fear from its ingredients. A spokesperson for British Soft Drinks Association told BeverageDaily.com that comparing medicine production to beverage and food manufacturing was an unfair. They added that the industry's use of additives was strictly monitored and not a threat to public health. "The level of these additives used is strictly regulated," the spokesperson said. "Additives used within soft-drinks have been fully approved and we are confident over the safety of products." According to the Food Commission, the industry response to the issue is missing the point entirely. Group spokesperson Ian Tokelove said that beverage producers have a responsibility to make consumers fully aware of how and what they consume may affect them. "For many people the additives appear to pose no immediate risk," he stated in the findings. "But better labelling would ensure that susceptible adults and children would at least have a chance of identifying, and avoiding, the additives that may cause them harm." The additives found in the report included colourings like E102 (tartrazine), and preservatives E210 (benzoic acid), and E211 (sodium benzoate). The commission stressed particular concern over the use of these additives, which have been linked in some circumstances to severe allergic reactions, skin irritation, and behavioural problems in children. Though the additives are particularly prevalent within beverage production, the Food Commission stressed that the problem also extended to cakes and confectionery as well.

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