European panel: Keep acceptable intake of six colors at current levels

by Jeff Gelski
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A European Food Safety Authority (E.F.S.A.) panel concluded a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet last year may not be used as a basis for altering the acceptable daily intake of certain food colors or sodium benzoate.

The study suggested a link between mixtures of certain food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate and hyperactivity in children (see Food Business News of Jan. 8, Page 28). The six colors were sunset yellow, tartrazine, carmoisine, ponceau4R, quinoline yellow and allura red. The study involved the University of Southampton’s Schools of Psychology and Medicine. The Food Standards Agency of the United Kingdom commissioned the study.

The E.F.S.A. panel concluded: "This study provided limited evidence that the mixtures of additives tested had a small effect on the activity and attention of some children. However, the effects observed were not consistent for the two age groups and for the two mixtures used in the study."

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