Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


NZ drinks need benzene tests - Greens

16 June 2005

NZ drinks need benzene tests - Greens

Soft drinks within New Zealand need to be tested for benzene levels, the Green Party says.

Other food safety agencies around the world including those in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and Australia have all launched tests after unacceptably high levels of benzene were found in some soft drinks in the USA. Ireland and the UK recalled some brands in their countries because they exceeded the internationally accepted levels.

"The New Zealand Food Safety Authority cannot with any credibility claim that carbonated drinks containing the combination of benzoate (additive 211) and ascorbic acid do not have benzene levels that are likely to pose any significant risks when it has not undertaken any similar testing in New Zealand, and is instead relying on the results of some recent testing in Australia.

"The Australian study, carried out by Food Safety Australia New Zealand, tested 68 soft drinks. It found that 7 percent exceeded the World Health Organisation maximum level of benzene, with some containing up to four times the internationally recognised levels. Thirty-eight contained trace levels of benzene. Drinks tested included Fanta Lite, Lift Lemon and Schweppes Butters.

"Benzene is a recognised carcinogen and it is a huge concern that the soft drinks tested in Australia, which may also be sold in New Zealand, had illegal levels of benzene residues.

"Equally concerning is the fact that FSANZ did not recall the products with illegal levels of benzene in them, as other countries have, but resorted to public relations puffery to rationalise their inaction.

"FSANZ did not even require producers to change their production processes to decrease their benzene levels to the levels considered safe by international guidelines," Ms Kedgley said.

"What is the point of having guidelines if our authorities refuse to require compliance with them?

"I call on the government to take this issue seriously. Given that another recent food survey revealed high levels of benzoates in New Zealand food, New Zealand authorities should require testing of common brands of soft drinks here, recall any products that exceed the WHO benzene levels, and require food companies to take action to decrease the benzene levels in their products. Just maintaining a watching brief is totally inadequate way to protect public health," Ms Kedgley says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Minister of Finance: Plan Shows $100 Billion Infrastructure Projects

Finance Minister Bill English has today launched the Government’s Ten Year Capital Intentions Plan (CIP) which shows a pipeline of $100.9 billion worth of infrastructure projects over the next decade. More>>


Werewolf: Safe Landings Gordon Campbell on the safety challenge to the Wellington runway extension.

The safety-related legal challenge revolves around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. More>>


Environment Commissioner: We Need To Work Together On Climate Change And Farming

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” More>>


NZ Super Fund: Seeking To Put A Market Price On Climate Change

Oct. 19 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand Superannuation Fund says it will devise a set of rules to assess investment winners and losers under climate change, a strategy that could rule out fossil fuels or producers such as current portfolio member Exxon ... More>>


Rejuvenation: Parata Will Not Contest 2017 Election

Education Minister and National List MP Hekia Parata has today announced that she will not be contesting the next election. She advised the Prime Minister of her decision earlier this year. More>>

Prisons Grow: Government Approves Plans For Increased Prison Capacity

Despite significant progress in reducing crime the number of prisoners has increased faster than projected. This is because the proportion of offenders charged with serious crimes has risen, meaning more people are being remanded in custody and serving more of their sentences in prison. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Plastic Bag Activism, And Street Harassment

Amusing to see the Act Party experiencing another outbreak of young fogey-ism. What has aroused the ire of Act Leader David Seymour this time is the introduction of a Greens private members bill to the ballot process, calling for a 15 cents levy on plastic bags to reduce pollution. More>>


Unclear Weapons: US Navy Ship Cleared To Visit NZ For Navy's 75th

United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key... “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news