December 17, 2008
Australian children consume low levels of added food colours
A recent survey undertaken by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) in 2006 has shown that children are consuming low levels of added food colours, indicating they are not being added to foods above permitted levels nor at levels which could pose a health and safety risk when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Colours are added to foods to improve their appearance, appetite appeal, flavour perception and to meet consumer expectations.
396 foods with added colours, as well as some claiming no added colours or artificial colours, were included in the survey. Foods were tested for Allura Red (additive number 129), Amaranth (123), Azorubine(122), Brilliant Black(151), Brilliant Blue(133), Brown HT(155), Erythrosine(127), Fast Green(143) Green S(142), Indigotine(132), Ponceau 4R(124), Quinolene Yellow(104), Sunset Yellow(110), Tartrazine(102) and natural flavours Annatto(160b) and Cochineal/Carmine(120). Dietary exposure assessments were estimated for the population aged above 2 years; children aged 2-5 years, children 6-12 years, adolescents 13-18 years, adults 19-24 years and adults aged over 25 years.
The survey found added colours were used at low levels, <25% of permittted maximum levels and estimated dietary exposure to synthetic colours was < 10% of acceptable daily intake for all population groups, including those who were the highest consumers of food colours. For children aged 2-5 years the colour with the highest mean and 90th percentile for dietary exposure was Azorbuine(122), followed by Tartrazine(102) and Sunset Yellow(110) with the lowest Green S(142). Azorubine and Tartrazine are found in cordial, icecream/ice confection and Sunset Yellow in soft drinks and savoury snacks.
The study is important in light of the recent UK study ( McCann et al Lancet 2007- see Food Additives and Hyperactivity) which showed added colours affected childrens behaviour. The concentrations of colours used in Australian foods and the amounts consumed by Australian children were shown to be much lower than that in the UK.eg in the UK study, tartrazine in confectionery was assumed to be 67mg/kg while the FSANZ survey showed it to be 10mg/kg. Labels provide information to parents on the presence of additives. The survey showed labelling regulations were complied with for nearly all colours examined.
Reference: FSANZ 2008. Survey of added colours in foods available in Australia- study of concentration in foods including dietary exposure assessment and risk characterization. www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles?Colours%20Survey_Final%20Report%2022%20Oct%2008%20_2_.pdf. Attachments www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/Final%20Appendicies.pdf
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Australian children consume low levels of added food colours: