Antimony in Juice

Newspaper reports that elevated levels of antimony have been found in certain fruit juices have highlighted again the risk that chemicals can leach out of packaging into food products. The research published in Journal of Environmental Monitoring found antimony at levels that exceeded the 'safety' limits for drinking water.

Although the researchers did not conclude that the antimony contamination necessarily came from packaging, this is one potential source. Other sources include process machinery and any other plastic materials made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that might have come into contact with the juices.

"Antimony can be present in many different forms and there is a suspicion that the carbohydrate content of fruit juices acts as a kind of sponge to draw antimony out of the plastic," says Dr Ellen Norman of Reading Scientific Services Ltd. RSSL's laboratories routinely test juices, and other drinks and foods for trace levels of contaminants that leach out of packaging. "This latest research does not necessarily expose a new or increasing problem, but it does highlight a need for the industry to remain vigilant and to routinely monitor products for all the chemical contaminants that could possibly emerge from packaging or process equipment."

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