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Thursday, 14 April 2011

What is inside your "soft drink"? (Pepsi, Coke, Sprite, Mirinda, Fanta, 7Up . . .

Much is made about how seafarers are provided with a healthy and nutritious diet onboard. Ofcourse, things are hopefully far improved from when I was at sea in the '70s and early '80s, when all we got was excessively over-fried food, lots of white bread, plenty of unknown kind of cooking mediums and absolutely no attention to health as long as the food was edible. But even now, one of the biggest issues is the easy availability on board of one of the biggest possible cause of ailments in the world - sweetened coloured carbonated waters. At cheap duty free rates.

The truth behind many of these "soft drinks" is that they contain, for example, aspartame as a sweetener and benzoids as colouring agents. BOTH of these ingredients, even in minute quantities, can and do cause a variety of ailments - hypertension, diabetes, cancer and similar, including over-weight. The "diet" versions are even worse.

Seafarers should stress with the management that there should be easier availability of organic green tea, non-sweetened and non-preservative fruit JUICES (specifically the word JUICE needs to be stressed again and again) and other healthy liquid options.

Go for it!!

Now, what exactly are those "natural flavouring substances"? And, see the smart way in which "Added Flavour" has been listed, brilliantly vague.

There is much more in Pepsi and Coke than meets the eye. Especially the versions made in countries where controls are lax.


Added on 17th of May 2011:-

After the usual run-around, I finally got a definitive answer on the status of aspartame in India, and it is shocking. There has been absolutely no risk analysis of any sort by any Government department on aspartame in India.

Vide her letter No. Dy. No. L-257/Dir (M) FSSAI/2011 dtd the 10th of May 2011, Ms. Sumita Mukherjee, the Director & CPIO of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which is a statutory regulatory body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has stated emphatically and clearly that risk analysis on aspartame has not been carried out.
How, then, did the Ministry of Food processing as well as the other authorities, including Customs & Central Excise, even permit this product in India?

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