TV celeb Bethenny Frankel's "all-natural" cocktail pulled from US shelves

American reality TV celebrity and nutritional chef
Bethenny Frankel is a hot topic in the blogs after news hit last week that her hot-selling Skinnygirl Margarita line has been yanked from the shelves of US grocery chain Whole Foods for containing a preservative linked to cancer.

Former Real Housewives of New York City star Frankel has built a cottage industry around her Skinnygirl diet principles, and markets a line of diet cocktails touted as "all natural." Yet the products contain trace amounts of sodium benzoate, a widely used FDA-approved food preservative found in salad dressings, sodas, and fruit juices.

"Sodium benzoate is not carcinogenic on its own, but can become so when combined with things like vitamin C (ascorbic acid)," wrote health blogger Blisstree on Monday. "Together, sodium benzoate and vitamin C create benzene, a chemical that's been proven carcinogenic as well as linked to ADHD and DNA damage." Problem is, notes health bloggers, Skinnygirl Margaritas contain vitamin C in the form of lime juice.

While the UK Food Standards Agency claims that you'd need to guzzle about 5.5 gallons of soda to be negatively affected by sodium benzoate, it's a good idea to be aware of your exposure. Blisstree advises avoiding products containing both ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate.

According to Blisstree, products to watch out for are soft drinks (fruit-flavored sodas are especially likely to contain high benzene levels), vitamin-enriched water or beverages, energy drinks, packaged sauerkraut, frozen pie fillings, and fruit juices.

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