A Simple LC–MS Multi-Analyte Method to Determine Food Additives and Caffeine in Beverages
A simple LC–MS method has been developed and validated for the simultaneous determination of 18 synthetic food additives and caffeine in soft and energy drinks, and in various alcoholic beverages. Nine food colours (tartrazine, sunset yellow FCF, azorubine, ponceau 4R, allura red AC, patent blue V, brilliant blue FCF, green S, brilliant black BN), two preservatives (sorbic and benzoic acid) and seven sweeteners (acesulfame K, aspartame, cyclamic acid, saccharin, sucralose, neohesperidin DC, neotame) were targeted food additives. The method employs reversed-phase ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) for analyte separation and a single quadrupole mass spectrometer for their detection. The limits of quantification were low enough to enable a reliable control of maximum limits set for some additives (Regulation [EC] No. 1333/2008). The method was applied for analysis of a wide range of samples collected at a typical supermarket: 14 soft drinks, 19 energy drinks, and 43 alcoholic beverages.