Test: Benzene in mineral water with taste

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Stiftung Warentest examined flavored mineral water

Whether apple, orange or strawberry - mineral water with aroma is becoming increasingly popular with consumers because they promise a light and healthy alternative to lemonade or soft drinks such as cola or fanta. But is it really about the fruit content in the flavored waters? The Stiftung Warentest asked itself this question and examined various fruit-flavored water - with results that were sometimes frightening.

25 products in the test For the May issue of the magazine "test", the experts at Stiftung Warentest examined "25 waters with taste in the flavors apple, strawberry, raspberry, black currant, cherry, peach, peach passion fruit, orange, lemon and lemon -Limette ”among other things with regard to pollutants, sensors, packaging and declaration and could not give a single product the grade“ good ”- instead, even five waters received a“ deficient ”. According to a current press release from the foundation, the label shows fruits that promise a full fruit taste, but "the tested waters with taste only contain artificial flavors", which is a clear "consumer deception" for the experts.

A worrying find of benzene
The discovery of benzene is particularly worrying because the carcinogenic substance was found in three beverages with a cherry flavor (Penny / Elitess aqua plus cherry, Volvic cherry and Vitrex cherry). ” The value for the "Vitrex" brand was "[...] at 3 micrograms per liter, well above the limit of 1 micrograms of benzene per liter that applies to drinking water", the Foundation announced.

Follow-up examinations based on a study by the NDR The fact that the tested products had even been examined for benzene had only emerged "last minute" because, according to the foundation, "critical amounts of benzene, which were included in an examination of the NDR program" Markt " Soft drinks were found and released earlier this week, ”prompted follow-up visits. Where the benzene comes from has not yet been clarified. It was previously known from previous studies that benzene is produced from the preservative benzoic acid, provided that the drink contains ascorbic acid - but this is not the case with any of the products in the current test. Therefore, according to the Stiftung Warentest, further investigations would already be underway, but the findings were too late for publication in "test-Magazin" - however, as soon as new results are available, they should be made available free of charge on the Foundation's website.

High sugar content in almost all beverages In addition to benzene, the testers found plenty of sugar in almost all waters - the most affected were the strawberry-flavored drinks, which had a good 70 grams of sugar per 1.5 liters, which corresponds to 23 pieces of sugar cubes. The majority of the flavored water definitely doesn't seem to be an easy alternative - because only two products were found to be sugar-free.

The taste also gave the testers cause for criticism: in just one case, the taste of the product was described as "typical" for the fruit shown, otherwise the drinks only tasted "flavored and only fruit-like", according to the Stiftung Warentest, which is why " the term "natural fruit taste" on some waters [...] misleading ". But that's not all, because according to the experts, the aroma of five products was not even included in the list of ingredients - which is why they shouldn't be sold at all.

Better create aroma yourself If you still prefer to drink your water with taste, Stiftung Warentest recommends that you simply mix your thirst quencher yourself. On the one hand, tea forms a good basis, because it offers a variety of flavors from herbs to fruit and is almost free of calories. Here, everyone can also decide for themselves how tasty they want their refreshing drink to be, for example by using only one tea bag instead of three for a liter of tea or mixing a cup of tea with a liter of cold water. In addition to tea, juice is also a good base for a refreshing cold drink - even a small amount of juice is enough to give the water a light fruit aroma. A bit more work, but guaranteed without additives is of course the self-pressed juice, for example made from lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit.

But according to the Stiftung Warentest, the whole fruit is not always needed, because water can already be flavored a little with fruit pieces. Any fruit from apple to strawberry to lemon can be used for this, cucumber and ginger slices, lemon balm, mint and basil could be used for extra peppery. Basically, according to Stiftung Warentest, consumers should, however, make sure that they "always wash fruits and herbs thoroughly and ideally use untreated ingredients". Then you don't need flavored drinks that have nothing to do with fruit in the slightest. (No)

Also read:
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Artichokes for digestive problems
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Image: Sigrid Rossmann / pixelio.de

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