Harmful colours must be stripped from food: Greens
Harmful colours must be stripped from food - Greens
The food industry must stop using six artificial food colours, linked to health and behaviour problems in children, following a decision by the UK Food Safety Authority to get them out of their food supply, the Green Party says.
The UK Food Standards Agency is calling on British industry to voluntarily remove the six colourings from hundreds of food products and drinks by the end of next year, following a warning from researchers at Southampton University that they are doing as much damage to children's brains as lead in petrol. The authority is also pressing for the European Union to take similar action and phase them out of foods and drink over a specified period.
Green's Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley is urging the New Zealand Government to follow the British.
"The Southampton researchers found that children's intelligence was being significantly damaged by the six synthetic additives that they examined, sunset yellow (E110), tartrazine (E102), carmoisine (E122), ponceau red (E124), quilloline yellow (E104) and allura red (E129).
Ms Kedgley praised Progressive Enterprises for leading moves to remove additives and called upon Foodstuffs, and the wider food industry to take similar action here.
"I congratulate Progressive Enterprises for taking the initiative to reformulate its own brand and remove the colour additives. I call on Foodstuffs, and other food retailers and manufacturers to follow suit.
"There has been anecdotal evidence for decades that synthetic colours can affect children's behaviour and learning ability. Now we have a scientific study which validates many parents' concerns and experience. These synthetic colours are added to hundreds of foods that are targeted at children, and as a result many children will be consuming a cocktail of these additives on a daily basis.
"If we genuinely care about our children's health and well-being, we should require these artificial colours to be removed from food that children eat. Why would we sit on our hands and do nothing if the intelligence of our children could be at risk?
"Synthetic colours have no nutritional purpose in food. They give colour but nothing else. Manufacturers use colours to market food to children and make it more colourful and appealing."
Synthetic colours were not permitted in staple foods like breakfast cereals New Zealand until 1991, and it is time to reverse the decision to allow them into staple foods that children eat, Ms Kedgley says.