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UK: Ban on food additives 'supported by ministers'

Ministers have agreed that if food manufacturers do not voluntarily phase out the additives, which the Food Standards Agency asked them to stop using earlier this year, they will pursue a ban through law, according to the BBC.

One of the additives is used to give mushy peas their bright green colour. Without it, the takeaway staple is a murky grey. Manufacturers have so far been unable to find an effective alternative.

The Food Standards Agency request came after researchers from Southampton University found last September that children behaved erratically and lost concentration after they consumed the additives, which are also commonly found in fizzy drinks, sweets and processed food.

The additives are Allura red (E129), an orange/red dye; Carmoisine (E122), a red colouring in jellies; Ponceau 4R (E124), a red colouring; Quinoline yellow (E104), a yellow colouring; Sunset yellow (E110), a colouring often found in squashes; and Tartrazine (E102), a colouring found in fizzy drinks, lollies and mushy peas.

In the study, a group of 300 children were given one of three drinks - a potent cocktail of additives, one containing roughly the average daily intake of additives for a child their age, or a placebo containing none.

After measuring their hyperactivity levels following their consumption of the drinks, scientists found that the cocktail of additives had a "significantly adverse effect" compared to the placebo.

The Food Standards Agency said parents of hyperactive children should be aware of the risks of feeding their children food containing the additives, and went on to call in April for a voluntary phasing out of the ingredients.

An spokesman for the Food Standards Agency said: "We will working closely with manufacturers and retailers as they take this issue forward."

Anna Glayzer, from Action on Additives, said: "It is good news. Some companies have already removed the colours from products, but many are dragging their feet.

"It is essential the FSA keeps up the pressure on companies to get rid of these potentially harmful and utterly unnecessary ingredients."


Publication date: 11/17/2008


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