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MEP calls for ban of "hyperactivity" food additives

7 July 2008, 3:59pm

Labour MEP Linda McAvan has backed a European Parliament call for a ban on harmful food colourings called azo-dyes, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.


A report in the medical journal, The Lancet, linked particular food additives to "hyperactive" behaviour amongst children. In September, Linda McAvan called for the European Food Standards Agency to ban these additives outright.


On Monday, Euro-MPs will debate new legislation which would require the so-called "azo-dyes" to be clearly labelled, and enables the European Commission and national governments together to ban specific additives quickly if evidence comes to light that they are harmful.


Linda McAvan MEP said:

"Many of the parents I talk to, know that if their child eats a lot of a certain product, they are likely to become badly behaved and "hyper". Until last year, we didn't really have the scientific evidence to back up these anecdotal claims. Then in September the first piece of the jigsaw fell into place. MEPs in the Parliament's Food Safety Committee are demanding that companies make information on the negative effects of additives available to the authorities and parents. Only in this way can swift action be taken to withdraw harmful additives from the market and protect our children."


The proposals still need to be endorsed by national governments in the Council of Ministers and could become law by the end of the year.




Notes to editors:

1. A British study from Southampton University showed that children who consume food containing azodyes (an additive which gives sweets and soft drinks a bright colour) can become hyperactive.

2. Images of Linda for use in print publications are available from her website:

3. When Parliament is sitting (usually Monday to Thursday) high-quality audio interviews for radio use can be arranged through Andrea Mott on 0032 (0) 496 381 402 or [email protected] (see for more information), or telephone interviews can be arranged through Linda's UK office on request.

4. The Food Additives Package will be debated in the Parliament's Strasbourg plenary session on the evening of Monday 7th July and voted at 12.00 on Tuesday 8th July.


For more information please call the European Parliamentary Labour Party press officer, Silke Thomson

on +32 479 790 053.


European Parliamentary Labour Party, European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 1047 BRUSSELS, Belgium -

Tel:  00 32 2 28 43736 Fax: 00 32 2 28 49061


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