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Coca-cola to phase out controversial Sodium Benzoate

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Coca-cola to phase out controversial chemical linked to hyperactivity and gene damage

By Colin Fernandez


Phase out: Coca cola is withdrawing the chemical sodium benzoate, which is used to stop fizzy drinks going mouldySoft drink giant Coca-Cola is phasing out a controversial additive that has been linked to hyperactivity and causing damage to DNA.The chemical Sodium Benzoate, also known as E211, is used to stop fizzy drinks going mouldy. But recent research has shown that the chemical can deactivate parts of DNA, the genetic code in the cells of living creatures.

Coca-Cola said it was withdrawing the additive from Diet Coke in response to consumer demand for more natural products.
The move will mean that by the end of the year  no can will contain E211 - and it plans to remove it from its other products as soon as possible.
But the company said at present it had not found a satisfactory alternative to replace the additive in some soft drinks with a higher juice content including Fanta and Dr Pepper.
Other fizzy drinks made by rival companies, such as Irn-Bru, Pepsi Max and Lucozade will continue to contain the additive.


While the chemical occurs naturally in some fruits, such as prunes, apples and cranberries, it is used in much greater strengths by the soft drinks industry.
Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology research at Sheffield University found that the additive could switch off vital parts of DNA that could be linked to cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson's disease.
He has also called for further research into the chemical.
In combination with vitamin C (CORR) sodium benzoate can form a potentially cancer-causing substance, benzene.
However the government-backed Committee on Mutagenicity - which investigates whether chemicals cause cancer - has dismissed the research.
The panel argue that while Sodium Benzoate has been shown to be harmful to yeast cells, it argues that human cells are stronger.
But Professor Piper called the dismissal a 'whitewash' that failed to take into account modern techniques of monitoring DNA damage.
Research by Southampton University found that sodium benzoate was one of seven additives - the six others being food colours -that can lead to hyperactivity.
The Food Standards Agency called for the six colours to be withdrawn from UK products - although sodium benzoate has been allowed to remain.
Coca-Cola said it had begun removing sodium benzoate from Diet Coke production in January.
A company spokesperson said: 'We are continuously looking at emerging trends and listening to our consumers thoughts about ingredients.
'For a number of years we have been moving towards non-artificial colours, flavours and preservatives where possible in our drinks.
'We are looking to phase out the use of sodium benzoate where technically possible.'

The company stressed that E211 was an approved additive by many worldwide bodies including the European Food Standards Agency.

Source: Dailymail


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