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Food survey of benzoates and sorbates in soft drinks
Project Code: A01066
Benzoates and sorbates are widely used food preservatives and are often used in combination in soft drinks, such as carbonated drinks and squashes.
The use of benzoates and sorbates in foods is controlled by The Miscellaneous Food Additives Regulations 1995 (Statutory Instrument (SI) 3187) as amended. Benzoates and sorbates are permitted to be used in non-alcoholic flavoured drinks (excluding dairy-based drinks). The maximum permitted level for benzoates in soft drinks is 150 mg/l (expressed as benzoic acid). The maximum permitted level for sorbates is also expressed as the free acid and is 300 mg/l when used singly or 250 mg/l when used in combination with benzoates. The maximum permitted levels refer to foods ready for consumption as prepared following manufacturers’ instructions. Therefore, for concentrates (squashes), the levels apply to the drinks when diluted according to manufacturers’ recommendations.
Soft drinks are likely to be the major contributing factor to the intake of benzoates and sorbates for young children, due to the high levels of consumption of these products by this age group. The information from this survey will be used to further refine intake estimates for these preservatives, and to inform future European Union discussions on maximum permitted levels of benzoates and/or sorbates in foods.
The preservatives considered in this study are benzoic acid (E210), sodium benzoate (E211), potassium benzoate (E212), calcium benzoate (E213), sorbic acid (E200), potassium sorbate (E202) and calcium sorbate (E203). The acceptable daily intakes (ADI) for sorbic and benzoic acid are 25 and 5 mg/kg body weight/day respectively. The ADI is the amount of food additive, expressed on a body weight basis, that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk.
For further information,. Food Survey Information Sheet 06/08 can be found on www.food.gov.uk at: http://www.food.gov.uk/science/surveillance/fsisbranch2008/fsis0608
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