February 11, 2012

Red Bull products pulled off in China over additive fears

Supermarkets in some major Chinese cities have pulled Red Bull energy drinks off their shelves over fears that the product may contain banned additives.

The scare was triggered by media reports in Harbin 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, official Xinhua news agency reported today.

An overdose of the substance could cause headaches, stress, anxiety, tinnitus and addiction, said 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.

Although Red Bull posted a statement on its website claiming that its products are "safe" and "free of any banned additives".