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Preservative labelling a ‘trick-of-trade’ for advertising

Preservative labelling is not always what it seems. At the supermarket recently, I reviewed several brands of lemonade to see if there was one that was a better choice for the punch recipe my family has had at celebrations since I was a child.

The label claimed NO added preservative 211 Sodium benzoate, but when I turned the bottle over and read the ‘fine print’ ingredient list, there amongst the sugar, food acid and flavorings was preservative 201 Sodium sorbate.

According to the Chemical Maze, 201 Sodium sorbate is mainly derived from petroleum – just like 211 Sodium benzoate, Asthma, hay fever, headaches, skin irritations, stomach upsets and hyperactivity are its potential effects – just like 211 sodium benzoate.

So while the label on this lemonade product proudly makes a health claim that an everyday person would consider ‘good’, what is really going on is a distraction from further label reading.

Lemonade is never going to be ‘healthy’ but this lesson in label reading can be applied to many products.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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