§ Sir Russell Johnston
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he proposes to publicise the adverse effects on many children of sodium salt of benzoate (E211) in view of its use as a preservative in many popular branded drinks.
§ Mr. Dorrell
None. Sodium benzoate (E211) is a permitted preservative listed in schedule I of the Preservative in Foods Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 533). The levels of sodium benzoate in foods are strictly controlled. Studies commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of a number of additives, including sodium benzoate, have found the overall incidence of intolerance reactions to be very low. As its presence as an additive in food must appear on the product label those who consider themselves adversely affected can avoid foods containing this preservative.