Fruit drinks and chemicals

Well it’s nice to be a world leader, but not when it comes to being up there because we have some of the highest levels of pesticides in fruit-based soft drinks. Spanish researchers checked drinks in many European countries and the USA and we came joint first with Spain, and the USA – usually home of the additives – came out well, as did Russia.

The study was reported in the December 15 issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry, and has revealed a basic flaw in the regulatory system for pesticides. Although levels of pesticides are strictly regulated in fresh fruit, vegetables, and drinking water there has been no follow through on fruit-based soft drinks.

The scientists measured the levels of a wide range of common pesticides in more than 100 fruit-based soft drink samples from 15 different countries. Pesticides they tested were those that are applied to crops after harvest and are known to still be able to be present during any processing methods. These included carbendazim, thiabendazole, imazalil, and malathion, and were found in fairly large concentrations in most of the samples analyzed.

The main concern is for children as their systems are more vulnerable to these chemicals, and they tend to have more fruit-based soft drinks than adults do. Until there is legislation in place it would be sensible to limit such drinks or make sure they come only from organic sources – make your own by buying organic apple juice concentrate and diluting it with water.