Ireland's food control body discovered unhealthy levels of benzene in two diet drinks, which has resulted in the manufacturers withdrawing the drinks from the market.
The two drinks that have been withdrawn are C&C (Ireland) Ltd.'s Club Diet Lemon and Rose's Diabetic Squash Concentrate. Stricter guidelines have been enabled so that manufacturers can use certain methods to avoid benzene formation in the drinks.
Benzene, a potential cancer causing agent, is capable of forming in the drinks during its shelf life. The vitamin C that is found in ascorbic acid combines with sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate, preservatives used in the drinks to offset bacteria formation. Other factors that contribute to the formation of benzene in stored drinks will depend on the manner it is stored and the composition of soft drinks.