Red Bull In China Taken Off Shelves

While it’s very possible that formulations for Red Bull are different in China than they are here in the US, I’m not sure of that right now and so it is interesting to me to see that China is questioning the manufacturers of Red Bull drinks because some of their additives aren’t registered for use in energy or vitamin drinks.

Here is a bit of the story and then I’m going to try to find out whether there are drinks in the US that contain mixtures of sodium benzoate and caffeine.  And then if there are I’m going to wonder why we aren’t treating them like a medicine and why China is?

The scare was triggered by recent media reports in Harbin that stated that some of the beverage’s ingredients are not registered with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and are not approved for vitamin functional beverages.

The ingredients include sodium benzoate, a preservative that, when combined with caffeine, may produce a substance considered an A-class drug for psychiatric treatment.

An overdose of the substance could cause headaches, stress, anxiety, tinnitus and addiction, said Dr. Zhang Jing from the First Hospital affiliated with the Harbin University of Medical Science.

Other additives found in Red Bull products, including sodium citrate, citric acid, carmine pigment and tartrazine, are also not registered with the SFDA, according to a list of Red Bull ingredients posted on the SFDA’s website.

The SFDA and its provincial bureaus have launched an investigation, but have not ordered removal of the drinks as of Saturday.

Okay, the carmine pigment bothers me a bit because I’m surprised that that isn’t ‘registered’.  But then maybe I shouldn’t be, maybe China doesn’t add food coloring like we do in this country.

Just think about it.




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