Serious questions remain over how America?s food safety watchdog handled the presence of benzene residues in soft drinks, a senior ex-official has said, after tests showed some drinks still contained the chemical 15 years after the industry agreed to cut it.
The source told BeverageDaily.com it was “embarrassing” the Food and Drug Administration had failed to eradicate benzene residues from all drinks.
His comments come as newly released meeting memos show at least one soft drinks maker, Kraft Foods, called for more guidance on benzene in soft drinks from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.
The developments put pressure on the FDA nine months after a BeverageDaily.com investigation revealed the watchdog had again found some drinks containing more benzene than is allowed in US drinking water. (FoodNavigator)
I rather doubt it is embarrassing to the FDA. This administration has no shame and failure to regulate is not an embarrassment, it is a badge of honor they where proudly to all their fundraisers.
Now they are in danger of getting on the wrong side of the food industry, too, as the food industry entreats the FDA to give them guidance. The FDA can’t even do its corruption competently.
Meanwhile, both the FDA and the food industry are telling the public not to worry. You have to drink a lot of benzene-laced soda to have even a tiny risk of cancer. Which is true. For any particular individual. The problem is that with tends of billions of bottles consumed around the world, the risk doesn’t have to be large. A one in a million risk is nothing for an individual but it is 1000 cancers for a billion individuals. As the ex-FDA official said:
“There is a difference here between a small and unavoidable risk, and a small but avoidable risk,” the ex-agency source said.
“The FDA seems to think the risk is quite low here. On the other hand, it’s in a [non-essential] product nobody needs, and it doesn?t have to be there. They claim they can reformulate.”