ADI action on ‘Southampton Six’

The European Food Safety Authority has lowered the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for three of the so-called Southampton Six food colours, but none of the scientific reasons given is associated with hyperactivity.

A study published in 2007 concluded that cocktails of six artificial food colours – Allura Red (E128), Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline Yellow (E104), Sunset Yellow (E110), Tartrazine (E102), and Azorubine/Carmoisine (E122) – and sodium benzoate were linked to hyperactivity in children.

After its initial review of the study, EFSA said that the study gave no grounds for changing the ADI of any of the colours. However, the European Commission subsequently asked EFSA to prioritise a review of the safety evidence for the colours.

EFSA’s additives panel has since announced that it has found no reason to lower the ADI of any of the colours, based on the Southampton study and other studies on the colours independently. But it did find some evidence that warranted lowering the ADIs for Ponceau 4R, Quinoline Yellow and Sunset Yellow on different grounds.

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