Hong Kong Warns Parents on Artificial Colors

November 15/Hong Kong/States News Service -- Hong Kong's Consumer Council has called on parents to avoid exposing children to excessive artificial food colors. "Parents concerned with hyperactivity will do well to read up ingredient lists in choosing food for their children.

"A U.K. study indicated six artificial food colors in the diet may result in increased hyperactivity in certain children.

"The six artificial food colors involved are tartrazine, quinoline yellow, sunset yellow, carmoisine, ponceau 4R, and allura red AC. In the study, two groups of children (respectively aged three and 8-9 years old) exhibited increased hyperactivity after consuming drinks mixed with various quantities of those six artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate.

"In examining the use of those six artificial food colors in local snacks and beverages, the Consumer Council found that nearly half of the 84 samples surveyed contained one or more of them. The samples covered 23 biscuits, 28 candies, 15 beverages and 18 jellies.

Among the 84 samples, 40 were found containing one or more of the six artificial food colors, including 11 biscuits, 15 candies, six beverages and eight jellies products."

The current regulations in Hong Kong permit the use of these six artificial food colors, but they are required to be labelled in the ingredient list if prepackaged food products contain any of them.

Starting from 20 July this year, food items marketed in European Union countries and containing these artificial colors must bear the additional information that "[they] may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children."

From the November 16, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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