Thousands of soft drink bottles have been removed from the shop shelves due to concerns that they could contain a cancer-causing chemical.
The Food Standards Agency found levels of benzene in nearly three times bigger amounts than the World Health Organization’s safety limits are. Nevertheless, FSA pointed out that the levels found were very low and would make no harmful impact on overall people’s benzene exposure. There is a legal limit of one part per billion on the amount of benzene allowed in drinking water and there are no UK restrictions on the amount of the chemical permitted in soft drinks.
In UK only four of the tested drinks exceeded WHO's guideline limits of up to 10 parts per billion (ppb):
A liter bottle of Co-op's low calorie bitter lemon with benzene at 28ppb.
A 330ml Popstar-branded still sugar free lemon and lime drink at 17ppb sold at Aldi Morrisons own-brand two liter no added sugar pineapple and grapefruit crush at 11ppb Silver Spring Hyberry one litre high juice, no added sugar, blackcurrant squash at 12ppb.
The Co-op and Morrisons have removed all affected batches and the other two were asked to be recalled as soon as possible.
The FSA's director of food safety, Dr Andrew Wadge, said that most soft drinks tested were not a cause for concern.