- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Q: Does the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor the safety of soft drinks?
A: Yes, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that carbonated soft drinks are safe, sanitary, and honestly labeled. In fact, the FDA has established “Current Good Manufacturing Practices” (CGMPs) for carbonated soft drinks, which describe the basic steps manufacturers and distributors must follow to make sure carbonated soft drinks are safe.
Only food and color additives that are determined to be safe, based on scientific information available to the FDA, may be used in carbonated soft drinks.
For example, this might include additives such as citric acid as a flavoring or a preservative, or caramel coloring. In addition, the materials the carbonated soft drink comes in contact with, such as the bottles and cans in which it is sold, also are strictly regulated for safety.
The Nutrition Facts Panel on carbonated soft drinks typically includes the serving size and the nutrients provided in a serving: calories, total fat, sodium, total carbohydrate, sugars (if present), and protein.
If a nutrient content claim, such as “Very Low Sodium,” appears on the label, the manufacturer must also add the statement “Not a significant source of ________,” with the blank filled in by the names of nutrients that are present only at insignificant levels.
Soft drink containers must also list:
+ Name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.
+ The amount of carbonated soft drink in the container.
+ All the ingredients, listed in order of predominance by weight. In other words, the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first, and the ingredient that weighs the least is last. For carbonated soft drinks, the first ingredient usually will be carbonated water.
+ Any chemical preservatives used, with an explanation of their function. Examples include “preservative,” “to retard spoilage,” “a mold inhibitor,” “to help protect flavor,” “to preserve freshness,” or “to promote color retention.”
+ Diet carbonated soft drinks containing phenylalanine must also include the statement, “PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE,” for individuals who suffer from phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder in which the body can’t process that amino acid. If the phenylalanine level gets too high in these individuals, it can damage the brain.
Richard P. Hoffmann, Pharm.D., has been a pharmacist for more than 40 years. Send questions to him at 2960 E. Coventry Court, Hernando, FL 34442.