Food Law News - UK - 2007

FSA News Item, 28 September 2007

ADDITIVES - Update on colours and hyperactivity

Following on from last week's Board discussions on recent Agency-funded research on food colours and hyperactivity in children, the Agency is to hold a meeting with consumers and industry stakeholders.

The meeting, to be held on 9 October, will involve public interest and industry groups and will discuss what further practical help can be provided to help parents avoid foods containing these colours if they wish to do so.

The research, carried out by Southampton University , suggests that eating or drinking certain mixes of some artificial food colours, together with the preservative sodium benzoate, could be linked to hyperactivity in some children.

European Food Safety Authority

The Agency also notes today's announcement from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on its initial consideration of the research. EFSA will be reviewing the study in detail, alongside other evidence, and expects to complete its study by the end of January 2008.

The Agency will continue to work closely with European authorities and will urge swift action in the interest of consumers across Europe .

Agency advice

The Agency is advising parents of children who show signs of hyperactivity that cutting out the colours used in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects on their behaviour. The colours are: Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau 4R (E124).

There are many factors associated with hyperactive behaviour in children but making sure your child eats a healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, is one way of limiting the amounts of food and drink that they eat that may contain these artificial colours.

Varied balanced diet

The Agency advises that we all, including children, eat a varied, balanced diet as illustrated in the eatwell plate, including:

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