EU food chiefs have rejected calls to ban additives which trigger hyperactive behaviour in children. The decision has appalled UK campaigners who insist millions of youngsters will be left exposed to harm.
A link between hyperactive behaviour and the substances used to colour sweets, drinks and medicines was established in a British study published last year. University of Southampton researchers warned the additives “damage the psychological health” of children.Â The study was funded and designed by scientists from Britain’s Food Standards Agency.
The campaigning food and health group, Sustain, condemned the European authority’s stance and called on Britain to impose a unilateral ban. Campaigns director Richard Watts said: “No one now disputes these artificial additives pose a threat to children’s health and well being. “Given EFSA has let down consumers, our own FSA must now act to remove them from the food chain.”
The additives linked to hyperactive behaviour are the colours Tartrazine (E102); Quinoline Yellow (E104); Sunset Yellow (E110); Carmoisine (E122); Ponceau 4R (E124); and Allura Red (E129). The preservative Sodium Benzoate(E211) is also implicated.
The FSA is due to discuss the authority’s report next month. To date, it has advised parents with hyperactive children to avoid the additives. The Food & Drink Federation, which speaks for manufacturers, insists the additives are safe.