ADHD :: Artificial food colours linked to ADHD children’s behaviour

Parents of children showing signs of hyperactivity are being advised that cutting certain artificial colours from their diets might have some beneficial effects.

The colours ? Sunset yellow (E110), Quinoline yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) Ponceau 4R (E124), and Sodium benzonate (E211) ? were studied as part of new FSA-commissioned research.

The research, carried out by Southampton University, suggests that eating or drinking certain mixes of these artificial food colours together with the preservative sodium benzoate could be linked to a negative effect on children?s behaviour.

The revised FSA advice follows evaluation of the research by the independent Committee on Toxicity (COT).

The FSA has held an initial meeting with the UK food industry to discuss the research findings and its implications. Representatives from manufacturing and retail organisations told the Agency there was already a trend within industry towards finding alternatives to the colours used in the study. Some technical challenges in developing these alternatives were also highlighted.

Dr Andrew Wadge, the FSA?s Chief Scientist, said: ?This study is a helpful additional contribution to our knowledge of the possible effects of artificial food colours on children?s behaviour.

?After considering the COT?s opinion on the research findings we have revised our advice to consumers: if a child shows signs of hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) then eliminating the colours used in the Southampton study from their diet might have some beneficial effects.

?However, we need to remember that there are many factors associated with hyperactive behaviour in children. These are thought to include genetic factors, being born prematurely, or environment and upbringing.

?The Agency has shared these research findings with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is currently conducting a review of the safety of all food colours that are approved for use in the European Union, at the request of the European Commission. This review is being undertaken because of the amount of time that has elapsed since these colours were first evaluated.

?If parents are concerned about any additives they should remember that, by law, food additives must be listed on the label so they can make the choice to avoid the product if they want to.?

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