Commission Midday Express, 6 September 2007
The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to evaluate a study carried out for the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), which links certain food colours with increased hyperactivity in children. According to the FSA funded study, the consumption of certain mixes of artificial food colours, together with the preservative sodium benzoate, may have an adverse effect on children's behaviour. Once EFSA provides its opinion on this study, the Commission will decide whether further measures are necessary for the additives in question. Before any additive is permitted for use in the EU, it must be scientifically assessed by EFSA (or previously, the Scientific Committee on Food) and shown to be safe. Moreover, the Commission keeps all additives under continuous observation and reacts swiftly to any new data that emerges. Currently, EFSA is carrying out an extensive re-evaluation of all authorised additives (starting with colours), to ensure that their safety assessment is still valid in light of the latest scientific data and technological developments. All additives must be labelled under EU legislation, both with their class name (i.e. colour/ preservative etc.), and either their E number or their full name. This allows consumers to make informed choices with regard the content of additives in the foods they buy.
For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/additives/index_en.htm