Written Q&A to EU Commission – Traces of alcohol in soft drinks

From here to the time being, in this section I will publish written questions to the Commission by the Members of the European Parliament related to Food Law.

Though they are published in the Official Journal of the European Union with a great delay, the answers given by the Commission can still be useful as guidance on the opinion of the Community institutions on certain issues.
The title of the posts in this section will always contain the topic that the Commission is addressing, to ease your consultation of the archive.
  • E-006983/12[1]: Written question to the Commissionby Oreste Rossi (EFD), Member of the European Parliament (Official Journal of the European Union C 219 E,31.7.2013):

For some time there have been suspicions that some carbonated soft drinks contain too high a percentage of alcoholand it has always been said that consumption should be limited. Now, some highly questionable proposals have been put forward with a view to banning such drinks entirely because of excessively high consumption by some membersof the population. A number of tests commissioned by the French National Consumer Institute have revealed that around half of all the carbonated soft drinks that were officially tested contain doses of alcohol of up to 10milligrammes per litre (0.001% alcohol).

A fresh debate is now, therefore, under way about the percentage of alcohol in specific soft drinks, namely Coca   Pepsi, consumer products which people do not want to give up and which make huge amounts of money.

Given that consumption of these drinks is constantly rising in Europe, especially among teenagers, can the Commission say whether it intends to monitor their consumption and study the possible health risks, in order to protect consumers?

Answer given by MrDalli on behalf of the Commission

(24 August 2012)

Regarding alcohol in soft drinks as an added component or as residue of a substance used in manufacture, theEuropean Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E‐4806/2011 by MrMölzer[2] giving information on regulations on the indication of the ingredients of foodstuffs.

The Commission does not have plans to monitor on an ongoing regular basis the level of consumption of soft drinks.

However, information on the consumption of soft drinks by the general population can be found in a Eurobarometersurvey on oral health [3]. Consumption of soft drinks by 15 year olds was also examined in the ‘Health Behaviour inSchool-aged Children’ study organised by the World Health Organisation In 2010 [4].

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has carried out a number of reviews to ascertain the safety of ingredients in soft drinks, such as sweeteners, food colours or flavourings. Based on evidence that high intake of sugars in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as carbonated soft drinks, might contribute to weight gain, EFSA has advised that public health bodies in Europe take this into account when formulating guidelines or giving advice to consumers[5].”

[1] 12 July 2012 (Compiled and edited by Cristina Vidreras, cristinavidreras@yahoo.es ) (Thank you for your precious work).

[2]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/parliamentary-questions.html

[3] Oral health. Special Eurobarometer 330/2010: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_330_en.pdf

[4]http://www.hbsc.org/

[5] FAQ on EFSA’s work on DRVs for sugar and other carbohydrates: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/faqs/faqdrv.htm

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