Research report

​Evaluation of the progress made by Scottich SMEs with the voluntary withdrawal of the ‘Southampton Six’ Colours from food products

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Summary

A study undertaken by Southampton University provided evidence for a possible link between the consumption of six food colours (Sunset Yellow (E110), Quinoline Yellow (E104), Carmoisine (E122), Allura Red (E129), Tartrazine (E102) and Ponceau 4R (E124)) and hyperactivity in 3 year old and 8/9 year old children in the general population. Following publication of the findings in 2007, and a review by the independent Committee of Toxicity, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) requested manufacturers to voluntarily remove these colours from their products, prior to legislative change requiring additional labelling on products containing these colours indicting their potential effect on the behaviour of children. This requirement will be enforceable from 20th July, 2010.

While it is known that larger manufacturers, who have access to good technical resources, appear to have made progress in removing the Southampton Six colours from products, information is lacking on the progress of Scottish Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in replacing the Southampton Six colours. It was also unclear to what extent these businesses are aware of the labelling legislation due to come into force on 20th July 2010 and how this will impact on the manufacture of products. The study aimed to address this and also help identify specific issues and barriers to removing the colours faced by Scottish businesses.

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