A public safety campaign from the publishers of The Food Magazine
Action On Additives

More information on each of the additives

Tartrazine (E102)

Tartrazine is an artificial, yellow food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including tartrazine and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

According to the FSA, studies have also shown that eating foods or drinks containing tartrazine can cause nettle rash (urticaria), dermatitis (an allergic skin condition), asthma, or rhinitis (runny nose) in a very small number of people.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that tartrazine “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Tartrazine is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes.

Once commonly used, media reports linking tartrazine to allergic reactions led to a reduction in its use. However, it can still be legally used in the UK.

Quinoline yellow (E104)

Quinoline yellow is an artificial, yellow food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including quinoline yellow and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that quinoline yellow “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Quinoline yellow is banned in the USA and other countries, but permitted for use in the UK.

Quinoline yellow is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes.

Quinoline yellow is used in a wide variety of sweets, soft drinks and other food and drink products.

Sunset yellow (E110)

Sunset yellow is an artificial, orange / yellow food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including sunset yellow and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that sunset yellow “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Sunset yellow is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes.

Sunset yellow is used in a wide variety of sweets, soft drinks and other food and drink products.

Carmoisine (E122)

Carmoisine is an artificial, red food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including carmoisine and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that carmoisine “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Carmoisine is used in a wide variety of sweets, soft drinks and other food and drink products, and also crops up in children’s medicines.

Carmoisine is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes, but is still used in some medicines for the under threes.

Carmoisine is banned in the USA and other countries, but permitted for use in the UK.

Ponceau 4R (E124)

Ponceau 4R is an artificial, red food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including ponceau 4R and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that ponceau 4R “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Ponceau 4R is used in a wide variety of sweets, soft drinks and other food and drink products.

Ponceau 4R is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes.

Ponceau 4R is banned in the USA and other countries, but permitted for use in the UK.

Allura red (E129)

Allura red is an artificial, red food colouring. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that a mixture of artificial food colourings including allura red and one food preservative, could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that Allura red “may cause allergic reactions”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Allura red is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes.

Allura red is used in a wide variety of sweets, milkshake powders and other food and drink products.

Sodium benzoate (E211)

Sodium benzoate is an artificial food preservative. A research study published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in September 2007 showed that mixtures of artificial food colourings and sodium benzoate could affect hyperactive behaviour in susceptible children.

According to the FSA, studies have also shown that sodium benzoate and other benzoates (E210, E211, E212, E213, E214, E215, E216, E217, E218 and E219) could make the symptoms of asthma and eczema worse in children who already have these conditions.

Under EC guidelines, medicines should carry a warning that sodium benzoate and other benzoates may be “mildly irritant to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes”. Foods and drinks carry no such warning, despite been consumed in much greater quantities.

Sodium benzoate is banned from all foods and drinks for the under threes, but is allowed in medicines aimed at children of the same age.

Sodium benzoate is widely used in soft drinks and is also found in children’s medicines and other food and drink products.


 

Sign up for more information

If you want to be kept informed about food additives, please enter your email address below and press 'add email'. Your email address will not be passed to any third parties or marketing agencies and will only be used by the Action on Additives campaign.

Email

Name

Support the campaign

The Action on Additives campaign is funded by grants and public donations, and coordinated by the not-for-profit campaign group The Food Commission. To support the campaign, please use the button below to make a secure donation. Thank you.

Seven suspect additives card

If you would like a handy Action on Additives plastic card, listing the seven suspect additives, please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Action on Additives campaign, 94 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF. We can supply up to three free cards to any one address, so you can share the cards with your friends.

If you would like to purchase a larger number of the cards, please email Anna at anna@actiononadditives.com for details of cost.

You can also print a sheet of ten cards by clicking on the link below.
Print more cards

Do you work in the hospitality sector?

The Action on Additives campaign welcomes information from people working in restaurants, hotels or contract catering. If you can tell us more about the use of any of these additives in the hospitality sector, where such additives usually go unlabelled, please click here.