The Food Standards Agency is expected to publish the results of a new compliance survey on the level of preservatives in soft drinks later today, which will largely give a clean bill of health to the sector.
The study, which looked at benzoate and sorbate levels in soft drinks, found just one sample to contain slightly more than the maximum permitted level of benzoic acid (which results from the benzoate use) and this did not pose a threat to consumer health.
Two other samples contained levels of sorbic acid that were not declared on the label. Their presence could possibly arise from the use of other ingredients used in the drinks.
Preservatives such as sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate enable soft drinks to have a longer shelf-life by inhibiting or arresting the growth of micro-organisms.
Sodium benzoate came under scrutiny as part of the Southampton University study into potential links between certain food colours and hyperactivity in children, since it was often present together with the six other colours in the drinks tested. However, the study did not look at the potential affects of individual additives.