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Friday, March 27, 2015 - 02:16
Gin and chronic taste

I thought Woolworths was all about healthy food and things like ‘organic’ and ‘free range’ – marketing lingo retailers use these days. But I bought what I expected would be a quality product the other day, a bottle of ‘Tonic water’. The marketing push is that it is ‘made with spring water’ and is ‘low kilojoule’.

The key ingredient of tonic water – which makes it a ‘tonic’ - is quinine, an antimalarial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It occurs naturally in the bark of cinchona tree. As such it could be considered ‘organic’. Yet Woolworths’ tonic water notee this as last on its list of ingredients. Generally manufacturers must list ingredients in order of volume, weight and so on. Woolworths’ tonic water contains:
• Carbonated ‘spring’ water (the most important ingredient); then,
• Citric acid;
• Flavouring;
• Non-nutritive sweeteners:
o Acesulfame-K, and
o Sucralose.
• Sodium benzoate as a preservative; and, finally,
• Quinine hydrochloride (the least important ingredient).

Acesulfame-K is acesulfame potassium, known in Europe as additive number E950. It is considered ‘safe’ by governmental authorities although independent research over the years suggests it might be carcinogenic, and have a limited effect on neuro-metabolic function, may affect prenatal development and launch one or two other alleged abnormal biological behaviours. The safety concerns are equally disputed. But there is no question the additive has a bitter and, to me, an unpleasant aftertaste. For this reason it is usually added with another substitute such as aspartame or, in this case, sucralose. This ingredient appears to have far less safety concerns, if any, and is endorsed by most governmental authorities. It is additive number E955.
Sodium benzoate is a very common food preservative and it is difficult to avoid consuming some of this in your overall diet. However, according to Wikipedia, Coca Cola has plans to remove it from its products ‘as soon a satisfactory alternative is found’. Which might suggest that sodium benzoate is unsatisfactory. Finally there is no further information on what Woolworths means by ‘flavouring’.
Personally I do not like to consume foods or drinks that contain synthetic ingredients, especially the non-nutritive sweeteners. Besides, Woolworths’ tonic water made my gin taste awful. I have thrown the 1 litre bottle away.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:28.3 1st March, 2015
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