The UK stands alone in the world for its 'anything goes' policy on food additives. Even the United States has banned more food colourings than the UK, which isn't saying a lot as the UK hasn't banned any of them.
This dogmatic view of our food agencies flies in the face of a range of scientific studies that have shown additives could be responsible for a range of systemic conditions, such as asthma and arthritis.
The agencies were embarrassed last week by government-sponsored research which concluded that many of the E additives sparked hyperactivity and bad behaviour in children.
Researchers at the Asthma and Allergy Research Centre concluded that significant changes in children's hyperactive behaviour could be produced by the removal of colourings and additives from their diets.
The E numbers that were studied included E102, E110, E122, E124 and E211, all of which are banned in one or more countries already. The E numbers indicate they have been passed for safe consumption in EU countries, although the UK goes further by allowing other additives and colourants into our foods that are barred elsewhere in Europe.
So, will the new research cause a change of heart at the food agencies, or perhaps cause even a flicker of reflection? Not a bit of it. The Food Standards Agency is hiding behind the useful scientific rejoinder that more research is needed. It didn't even say it was food for thought.
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