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Update on certain artificial colours and hyperactivity

Thursday 11 October 2007

colours in bowl

The Agency held a meeting with representatives from public interest groups and the food industry on 9 October to discuss any further action that could be taken to provide practical help to parents who want to avoid the colours used in the Southampton Study.

Those food industry representatives present described the actions that they had taken in respect to additives, including those colours used in the study. Some of those represented reported significant progress in removing a number of artificial colours used in the study; others were able to report on plans in place to reformulate products within a specific timeframe.

The Agency requested that representatives of industry provided further detailed information on:

The industry representatives agreed with this and the Agency will encourage companies and organisations not present to also provide this information.

This information will be used as part of a discussion planned to take place at the Agency’s February 2008 open Board meeting.

Several representatives raised concerns about getting the engagement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).The Agency recognised that this was a diverse sector and agreed to consider ways in which this could be improved. It was agreed that the Agency and the Food and Drink Federation would give further consideration to holding a technical symposium about additives for food companies, including SMEs.

The Agency was asked to improve the usability of the current additives section of its website to ensure that the links on the site connected to easy-to-navigate, detailed product information.

Netmums stated that it had established a dedicated additives webpage on its site that provides a list of foods and drinks free from the artificial colours used in the study. The web-based parents organisation is keen to expand the product list on their webpage and said it would welcome further information from the industry representatives present. It was also happy to include weblinks to other organisations.

Some of the public interest groups asked the Agency if it would issue a statement clarifying what further action it would like to see taken in respect of the colours used in the study prior to the European Food Safety Authority making a decision on the issue. The Agency recognised that an update would help provide clarification in this interim period and agreed to consider this further

The following groups attended the 9 October meeting: Food and Drink Federation, British Retail Consortium, Somerfield, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, British Soft Drinks Association, Food Additives Ingredients Association, British Medical Association, International Association for the Study of Obesity, Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health, British Nutrition Foundation, Sustain, Nutrition Society, Netmums, Which?, Food Commission, Organic Trade Group, Soil Association, Hyperactive Children’s Support Group Vega, The University of Sussex, Dairy UK and British Hospitality Association.

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Related links

Agency revises advice on certain artificial colours Artificial colours and hyperactivity: food industry statements Board discusses additives research Hyperactivity and colours: advice to parents Update on colours and hyperactivity 28 September 2007

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