Subtracting the additives

Parents and experts want food without additives to protect children’s health. So what will the manufacturers do?

The lemonade bottle had been squatting at the bottom of my fridge, supposedly on hand for an emergency Pimm’s. It shivered there for about four months, only a quarter of it drunk, before I decided to tip the contents down the sink (I prefer emergency Bellinis). That’s when I noticed the sell-by date: June 2008.

Without sodium benzoate, otherwise known as E211, my lemonade would have gone off more quickly, perhaps a couple of weeks after I purchased it in early 2007. In fact, I may not have been able to buy it at all.

“If we got rid of preservatives, we might not have the same range of products on the supermarket shelf,” says Christine Welberry, from the Food and Drink Federation, which represents manufacturers. “It might not be viable to manufacture a product and put it in the shops if it has only a few days before it goes off.

“Shelf life is a consumer convenience, as well as being part and parcel of the food chain. The consumer wants the product in her store cupboard for long enough to be useful to her. And all manufacturers make products based on consumer demand, so people obviously want to buy these products.”

Source - Times

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