Food additives 'could be as damaging as lead in petrol'
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Saturday, 5 April 2008
Artificial food colours are set to be removed from hundreds of products after a team of university researchers warned they were doing as much damage to children's brains as lead in petrol.
Academics at Southampton University, who carried out an official study into seven additives for the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said children's intelligence was being significantly damaged by E-numbers. After receiving the advice last month, officials at the FSA have advised their directors to call for the food industry to remove six additives named in the study by the end of next year.
The advice, which will be put before the FSA board next week, would be voluntary. However, manufacturers would be expected by the regulator to remove the additives, replacing them with natural alternatives if possible. Some sweetmakers have unilaterally agreed to remove the suspect colours following the latest scientific evidence.
Researchers have linked E-numbers to behavioural problems since the 1970s but the debate has intensified after the Southampton study, published last September, found that seven additives such as sunset yellow (E110) and tartrazine (E102) were causing temper tantrums among normal children.
The FSA, which funded the £750,000 study, was criticised by health groups for failing to ban the additives after taking the advice of the Committee on Toxicology, which said they had only a moderate effect on some children...
...* A list of more than 900 products containing the additives is published on the Food Commission's website actiononadditives.com.