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Suspect food additives still widely used in children's medicine

Monday 25th February 2008

Suspect food additives were found in 40% of the children's medicines examined in a new survey by The Food Commission. The survey examined five types of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including pain relievers and antibiotics, for the presence of the seven food additives linked to hyperactivity in children.

The additives were found in:

  • 17 out of 37 paracetamol products;
  • 2 out of 11 ibuprofen products;
  • 3 our of 5 amoxycillin products;
  • 2 out of 8 erythromycin products;
  • and 4 out of 9 throat syrups.

Anna Glayzer, a spokesperson for The Food Commission, commented, "Many parents do not wish to expose their children to unneccessary food additives, especially additives that have been linked to hyperactive behaviour and other health problems."

"We urge medicine manufacturers to clean up their act and give unneccessary artifical colourings the red card." Glayzer added. "Our survey has shown that medicines do not have be be coloured using suspect food additives, but with ingredient lists hidden inside medicine packets it is almost impossible for parents to choose between products."

The seven food additives linked to hyperactive behaviour in children are;

  • E102 Tartrazine
    E104 Quinoline Yellow
  • E110 Sunset Yellow
  • E122 Carmoisine
  • E124 Ponceau 4R
  • E129 Allura Red
  • E211 Sodium Benzoate

  • The first six are colours, the seventh is a preservative. The additives may be listed by E number or name.

A website has been set up at where a list of food, drinks and medicines which contain the suspect additives is being constantly updated. The website is free to use and already features almost 700 products.

More information

For further information contact Anna Glayzer on 020 7837 2250 or

The Food Commission is an independent watchdog which campaigns for healthier, safer, sustainable food in the UK.


The following pages may also be of interest

  • Articles:Give artificial colours the red card
    Research has confirmed a link between certain food additives and hyperactivity. Anna Glayzer investigates the use of these in children's medicines.