News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Statement about Benzene
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Beverage Association is working with federal regulators and members of the industry to assure any concerns about benzene are resolved. Our industry’s uncompromising commitment to its consumers places a premium on product safety and quality.
The FDA has provided no indication that it believes the few samples of beverages that were found to contain benzene present any risks to health. Regardless, the American Beverage Association will aggressively circulate guidance throughout the industry on how to effectively address the benzene issue.
Benzene is found widely in the environment. It is found in the air we breathe and in dozens of foods we eat, such as bananas, meats and eggs. And we know that low levels of benzene may be found in some very specific formulations of soft drinks containing sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate are used as preservatives and are important ingredients to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Importantly, effective steps can be taken in the production process to mitigate the formation of benzene, even when these ingredients are used together.
The beverage industry took pro-active steps to resolve the benzene issue when it first cropped up in the early 1990s. The industry reformulated the affected products to address the issue, working with the FDA throughout the process.
Since then, however, many new companies and beverage brands have entered the fast-growing beverage industry and may not be aware of these formulation practices. The American Beverage Association will provide further guidance to industry so this issue can continue to be addressed effectively.
We are an industry whose valued consumers invite us into their lives billions of times a day throughout the world. Our foremost commitment will always be to ensure the quality and safety of our products through rigorous food safety procedures.
Letter from FDA Regarding Benzene Levels in Soft Drinks, March 21, 2006