Pretty vibrant colours give life to some of our favourite foods. In recent times, food colourings have had a bad rap, but rather than demonising all of them, it is worth knowing which ones to watch out for.
In 2007, a study conducted by Southampton University identified the following food colours to be of particular concern – they became better known as the Southampton 6:
• Sunset yellow (E110)
• Quinoline yellow (E104)
• Carmoisine (E122)
• Allura red (E129)
• Tartrazine (E102) and
• Ponceau 4R (E124)
These petroleum based food colours have been shown in studies to have behaviour altering effects and the ability to mutate healthy DNA. They have also been found to be carcinogenic and linked to hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Subsequently, the Food Standards Association (FSA) called for a reduction of the six colours as well as the preservative sodium benzoate (E211) in 2008.
Although there is no ban in the U.K. per se, the push for natural ingredients inevitably means a gradual reduction over time. However, your ongoing awareness and caution is advised.
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