Friday, July 23, 2010

Nasty additions

Food additives don’t just cause bad behaviour, there’s now a risk of cancer
Just over a year ago I wrote about the link between artificial food colourings and preservatives and children’s behaviour, but new research suggests there is an even greater risk to our children.
Australian food authorities may ban artificial food colours from breakfast cereals and confectionary items following new scientific evidence that shows it may pose a cancer risk, as well as causing hyperactivity and allergic reactions to children.
The research, conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in the US, found that common colours were contaminated with known carcinogens and shown to cause cancer in rats.
CSPI recommends the colours be banned, and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will assess the data from the study this week before deciding whether to make changes. But it has no plans to follow Europe’s lead by requiring manufacturers to apply warning labels.
European food manufacturers are now required to carry a warning if their products contain the artificial colours.

This ruling comes after a 2007 study conducted for Britain’s Food Standards Agency concluded there was a link between additives and hyperactive conduct in children.
Researchers from the University of Southampton gave 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight and nine-year-olds a mixture of six colour additives and the preservative sodium benzoate reflecting the average daily intake of a child.
None of the children in the study had a history of hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder, but when given the additives became boisterous and lost concentration.
There is the question that perhaps sodium benzoate is the real problem, but it’s common for this preservative to be included in most formulations.
The artificial colours used were: E102 (tartrazine), E104 (quinoline yellow), E110 (sunset yellow), E122 (carmoisine, or azorubine), E124 (ponceau 4R) and E129 (allura red).
Each of these colours has a “natural” equivalent, although the substitute may vary with the application.
A survey of more than 1000 people run by MotherInc website showed almost 96 per cent of Australians support the idea of banning artificial food colourings, and 31 per cent of parents said they were unaware of which foods contained artificial colourings.
Many respondents said their children’s behaviour changed after they consumed foods with the additives. 
The most common effects included hyperactivity, concentration loss, impatience, irritability, sleep difficulties and tantrums.
More than one in five said they were prepared to pay more for products which contained natural alternatives, and there was almost unanimous support for legislation requiring manufacturers to put warning labels on foods with certain artificial additives.
As well as hyperactivity, there are other problems that can be experienced after eating food with additives including eczema, asthma, migraines and increased ear and/or chest infections.
The Food Intolerance Network has on its website a long list of foods in Australia that contain artificial colours, and it’s quite an eye-opener.
A lot of parents know about the artificial colours in confectionary, but they can also be found in medications, muesli bars, noodles, bakery items and even toothpaste.
Each year, manufacturers worldwide pour close to seven million kilograms of artificial colours into common foods, despite consumers complaining of adverse reactions.
Synthetic chemicals do nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, so until Australia follows the lead of European nations, it is up to parents to continually check the labels on everything we give our children.

Food additives you should avoid: 
* Artificial 102, 104, 107, 110, 122, 123, 
124, 127, 128, 129, 132, 133, 142, 143, 151, 155, 162, 164
* Natural 160b annatto 
* 200-203 sorbates 
* 210-213 benzoates 
* 220-228 sulphites 
* 249-252 nitrates & nitrites 
* 280-283 propionates 
* 320 butylated hydroxyanisole
* sodium metabisulphate
* 310-312 gallates 
* 319-321 TBHQ, BHA, BHT 
* 512 stannous chloride
* 620-625 glutamates incl. MSG 
* 627 disodium guanylate 
* 631 disodium inosinate 
* 635 ribonucleotides 
* HVP hydrolysed vegetable protein
* Yeast extract
* 950 acesulphane potassium
* 951 aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal)
* 952, 954-957
* 420 sorbitol
* 407 Carrageenan


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