Drinks taken off Bucks shelves by watchdog

Trading Standards Team Leader David Pickering checks the label on a fizzy drink bottle
Trading Standards Team Leader David Pickering checks the label on a fizzy drink bottle

Fizzy drinks that failed Trading Standards tests in Bucks have been taken off shelves.

Two samples, taken during a series of tests, had the wrong labelling and contained too much benzoic acid, which in excessive quantities can affect the liver and kidneys.

Stock of the drinks, from the USA, were taken off the shelves of an independent trader and Trading Standards are now investigating.

Bucks County Council Trading Standards team leader David Pickering said EU limits for benzoic acid are 150 milligrams per litre, while the USA allows 1000 mg/l.

Seven out of 10 random samples of fizzy fruit drinks failed public analyst tests for preservatives, colourings and labelling.

Mr Pickering said: “These samples appeared to be breaking our labelling and ingredients regulations and we’re investigating further.”

Five samples taken from retailers and a Bucks importer had incorrect labelling and traders have been told they must comply with EU regulations.

The samples tested by the analyst included labelling for the American market and labelling containing non-English wording, raising concerns among Trading Standards officers that consumers could not tell what was in the drinks.

Mr Pickering said: “Despite strict EU regulations, we’re still finding imported drinks that aren’t compliant, some from the USA and others from the Far East.

“A certain amount of sampling takes place at ports, but some products slip through the net.’

Martin Phillips, cabinet member for community engagement at the council, said: “It may be that the EU errs on the side of caution with its regulations, but the precautionary principle is a very wise one to use.”