Ingredients and labelling of soft drink imports into Great Britain

Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority (SCPHA) has issued guidance to importers following increasing enquiries about the ingredients and labelling of soft drinks imported into Great Britain.

While SCPHA cannot advise over each specific product, importers are encouraged to refer to the below guidelines when intending to import soft drinks into Great Britain:


Additives permitted in imported soft drinks

Information on permitted preservatives, food colourings, sweeteners and flavourings in imported soft drinks, as well as the allowed levels for specific products, can be provided by the FSA’s Food Additives team at

Importers can also contact a Public Analyst and provide full details about the product(s) they wish to import, including ingredients and proposed labelling.


Labelling imported soft drinks

Importers can ask the local authority Trading Standards office for their company’s location to provide advice over the labelling of soft drinks.


Import restrictions for soft drinks

The main restrictions enforced by SCPHA in relation to soft drinks include but are not limited to:

  • Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) – not permitted as a food additive in GB
  • Calcium disodium EDTA (E385) and Erythorbic acid (E315) – not permitted food additives in drinks
  • Trimagnesium citrate – not permitted in flavoured drinks in GB
  • Benzoic acid in soft drinks – permitted up to a maximum level of 150 mg/l in GB
  • The below colours have maximum permitted levels as stated in law. If a product contains one or more, they should be labelled with the warning ‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’. Please refer to retained EU Regulation No 1333/2008 for further information:
    • Sunset yellow (E110)
    • Quinoline yellow (E104)
    • Carmoisine (E122)
    • Allura red (E129)
    • Tartrazine (E102)
    • Ponceau 4R (E124)
  • Konjac flour – not recognised as a food additive under its specifications in retained EU Regulation No 231/2012 and would need to be authorised for use, including for a technological effect such as gelling agent or thickener
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate (E481) – only permitted in powders for the preparation of hot drinks. It is not permitted in a pre-prepared, ready-to-drink product in a can, such as bubble milk tea