EU urged to ban 6 artificial food colourings linked to hyperactivity in kids

18 April, 2008

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the United Kingdom, which is also Europe’s chief consumer watchdog, has called for a European Union-wide ban on 6 food colourings, which were found by a scientific study to produce hyperactivity in children.

A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet in September 2007 had found that “a cocktail of artificial colours and the commonly used preservative sodium benzoate are linked to hyperactivity in children.”

according to scientists, in the past decade, hyperactivity seems to have risen to serious proportions in some countries. Doctors in the United States generally perceive hyperactivity as a medical condition – attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – and prescribe a potent drug, ritalin, to treat it, according to the news agency AFP.

In a statement, supported by 41 interest groups, Monique Goyens, head of the consumers association of the BEUC, Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (European Consumers Organisation, based in Brussels, Belgium) said: “It is unacceptable to leave on the market substances strongly suspected to increase hyperactivity in children while having no added value at all except colouring food. The European Union must place the health of its most vulnerable consumers before any other interest.”

There are other experts who believe that that hyperactivity has social causes such as instability at home and poor education, and insist that the use of powerful, mind-altering drugs is dangerous.

The study conducted in September 2007 by researchers at Southampton University in southern England had recruited 153 local children aged 3 and 144 children aged 8 or 9.

The six colourings that Britain’s Food Standards Agency wants banned are:

  1. Tartrazine (E102)
    Description: Synthetic yellow dye found in sweets, biscuits, mushy peas

    Products: Disney Winnie the Pooh Cake Kit, Lidl orange jelly, Bacardi Breezer tropical lime, Asda mushy peas.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity, linked to allergic reactions and migraine.
  2. Quinoline Yellow (E104)
    Description: Synthetic dye in sweets, pickles, smoked fish.

    Products: Aero orange, Galaxy Minstrels, M&Ms, Bassett’s Sherbet Lemons.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity and is linked to rashes. Banned in the US.
  3. Sunset Yellow (E110)
    Description: synthetic yellowdye found in sweets, ice cream, fizzy drinks.

    Products: Cadbury Creme Egg, Haribo Jelly Beans, Irn-Bru.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity and linked to stomach upsets and swelling of skin.
  4. Carmoisine (E122)
    Description: Synthetic red dye found in ready meals, sweets.

    Products: Love Hearts, Galaxy Minstrels, Cadbury Mini Eggs, various lollipops.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity and is alleged to cause water retention in those allergic to aspirin. Banned in the US.
  5. Ponceau 4R (E124)
    Description: synthetic red dye found in sweets, biscuits, drinks.

    Products: Bassett’s Pear Drops, Halls Blackcurrant Soothers, Supercook Alphabet Icing.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity and is believed to cause problems for asthmatics. Banned in the US.
  6. Allura red (E129)
    Description: Synthetic red dye found in sweets, soft drinks, Turkish delight.

    Products: Fry’s Turkish Delight, Cadbury Mini Eggs, Maynards Wine Gums.

    Health effects: Causes hyperactivity and may bring on allergic reactions.






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