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
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.
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:
● plenty of fruit and vegetables
● plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choosing wholegrain varieties when you can
● some milk and dairy foods
● some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein
● just a small amount of foods and drinks high in salt, fat and sugar