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article imageDiet Coke dropping additive except in Australia

By Cynthia Trowbridge     May 29, 2008 in Health
A controversial additive that has been linked to damage to DNA and also to hyperactivity in children is being phased out by Coke except in Australia. Coca-Cola in Australia does not have any plans to phase out the additive.
Diet Coke has the addictive sodium benzoate, which is also known as E211,in the drink. The purpose for the additive is to stop fizzy drinks from going mouldy.
According to MailOnLine Coca-Cola said they began to withdraw the additive in January due to consumer demand for more natural products.
By years end Coke will not contain any E211.
Coke is also planning to remove it from their other products as soon as they can find a satisfactory alternative that will replace the additive in some soft drinks that contain a higher juice content. The products include Fanta, Dr Pepper, Sprite and Oasis. They do not use the chemical in regular Coke.
Research that has been done by Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology at Sheffield University, has found that the additive could switch off parts of DNA, the genetic code in the cells of living creatures, that could be linked to cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson's disease.
The Government-backed Committee on Mutagenicity dismissed the research by stating that even though sodium benzoate has been shown to be harmful to yeast cells, they say that human cells are stronger.
Research that has been by Southampton University has found that sodium benzoate is one of seven additives that can lead to hyperactivity in children. The six other additives are food colours.
The Food Standards Agency wants the six colours to be withdrawn from products but have asked for sodium benzoate to be removed.
A Coca-Cola spokesman said: "We are continuously listening to our consumers' thoughts about ingredients."
They did stress that E211 was approved as an additive by many agencies around the world including the European Food Standards Agency
According to COCA-COLA Australia does not have any plans to phase out sodium benzoate from its drinks even though Britain is removing it.
Coca-Cola in Britain said it had begun withdrawing the additive from Diet Coke in January.
A statement from Coca-Cola said there are no plans to phase the additive out in Australia.
"The use of food additives is strictly regulated under Australian law," it stated.
"All of the ingredients used in products of The Coca-Cola Company are safe and approved for use by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand."
A survey that was done by FSANZ in 2006 found that levels of benzene and sodium benzoate in soft drinks were well below World Health Organisation guidelines for levels in drinking water.
More about Diet coke, Additives, Being dropped
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