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Action on Additives logoAction on additives

In 2007, scientific research commissioned by the UK Government’s Food Standards Agency confirmed that mixtures of certain artificial food colourings and a commonly used food preservative can increase hyperactive behaviour in young children.

These food additives have not been banned and companies continue to use them in children's food, drinks and children's medicines. The artificial colourings were also reviewed at European level, and companies that use these chemicals in food are now required to label food and drink products containing the colours sunset yellow (E 110), quinoline yellow (E 104), carmoisine (E 122), allura red (E 129), tartrazine (E 102), ponceau 4R (E 124) with the following additional information on the label: ‘name or E number of the colour(s)’: "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children".

Despite food industry claims that the additives are used in just a 'handful' of products, the Food Commission found over 1,000 products in the UK containing these questionable ingredients. Most of these were targeted at children, and some still did not carry the required warning.

The Action on Additives website – previously run by the Food Commission, and now run by the First Steps Nutrition Trust – campaigns against the use of these and other artificial additives.

Visit the Action on Additives website, run by our sister organisation, the First Steps Nutrition Trust:

Use the links below to view educational resources for teachers and students previously produced by the Food Commission.