By Josie Clarke, PA
April 10, 2008
Children's campaigners today welcomed a recommendation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to ban six artificial food colourings.
The board of the FSA said UK manufacturers should voluntarily remove the additives from their products by 2009 and also called on the EU to take action.
The FSA wants the E numbers to be removed from food products because of an "accumulating body of evidence" that they are associated with child hyperactivity.
At a meeting in London, the board agreed that the EU should phase out the colourings but said UK manufacturers should voluntarily remove them in the meantime.
The colourings involved are sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104), carmoisine (E122), allura red (E129), tartrazine (E102) and ponceau 4R (E124).
UK ministers will now consider the recommendation but the final decision will be made at EU level.
The board's chairwoman, Dame Deirdre Hutton, concluded: "If one puts consumers first, which is our duty, we must recognise that these colours are not necessary and it would be sensible to have them removed from all foods."
In a study for the FSA, researchers at Southampton University looked at the effect of food colouring on behaviour.