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

Suspect food additives still widely used in children's medicine

Monday 25th February 2008

Suspect food additives were found in 40% of the children's medicines examined in a new survey by The Food Commission. The survey examined five types of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including pain relievers and antibiotics, for the presence of the seven food additives linked to hyperactivity in children.

The additives were found in:

  • 17 out of 37 paracetamol products;
  • 2 out of 11 ibuprofen products;
  • 3 our of 5 amoxycillin products;
  • 2 out of 8 erythromycin products;
  • and 4 out of 9 throat syrups.

Anna Glayzer, a spokesperson for The Food Commission, commented, "Many parents do not wish to expose their children to unneccessary food additives, especially additives that have been linked to hyperactive behaviour and other health problems."

"We urge medicine manufacturers to clean up their act and give unneccessary artifical colourings the red card." Glayzer added. "Our survey has shown that medicines do not have be be coloured using suspect food additives, but with ingredient lists hidden inside medicine packets it is almost impossible for parents to choose between products."

The seven food additives linked to hyperactive behaviour in children are;

  • E102 Tartrazine
  • E104 Quinoline Yellow
  • E110 Sunset Yellow
  • E122 Carmoisine
  • E124 Ponceau 4R
  • E129 Allura Red
  • E211 Sodium Benzoate

The first six are colours, the seventh is a preservative. The additives may be listed by E number or name.

A website has been set up at www.actiononadditives.com where a list of food, drinks and medicines which contain the suspect additives is being constantly updated. The website is free to use and already features almost 700 products.

Monday 25th February 2008

More information

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For further information contact Anna Glayzer on 020 7837 2250 or anna@actiononadditives.com

The Food Commission is an independent watchdog which campaigns for healthier, safer, sustainable food in the UK.

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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.
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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.