Last updated at 22:00pm on 23rd April 2007
Sainsbury's is taking the chemicals out of it's cola drinks
Artificial colours and flavours including the controversial sweetener aspartame are being banned by Sainsbury's.
Other supermarkets and manufacturers are expected to bring in similar bans following studies linking the additives to allergies and hyperactivity.
Sainsbury's is replacing aspartame with sucralose, a low-calorie sweetener made from sugar. It is also removing the widely-used artificial colouring E150d from its cola drinks. E150d also appears in beer and bread.
The chemicals will generally be replaced by natural colours and fruit and vegetable extracts, while flavourings will be from named fruits and other natural sources.
The founder of the Hyperactive Children's Support Group, Sally Bunday, said: "This is fantastic news particularly for our members whose children are affected by the artificial colours used in so many products targeted at youngsters."
Sainsbury's soft drinks manager, Cathy Port, said: "This is the result of extensive research among customers who told us what they want.
"We've invested a huge amount of time to ensure we get the taste of the new soft drinks exactly right."
is good to hear until you realise they are replacing aspartame with sucralose, which is selectively chlorinated
They are just replacing one nasty chemical with another.
I hope other
supermarkets do the same.
You'd be amazed by the number of drinks which contain this poison.
Mostly I drink sparkling water, as it is so hard to find a fizzy drink without aspartame, asulfamine-K etc
I used to regularly get migraines until I worked out it was the aspartame in my diet-cola. Now haven't had one in over 15 years.
- Dino F.
about time some one realised the problems with aspartame, if this chemical
becomes warm ie in bright sunlight it turns to formaldehyde among other
chemicals. This can cause all sorts of problems and has been atributed to Gulf
Dieticians blame Big macs etc for obesity no one mentions the pint of Coke full of chemicals and sugars swallowed with every big mac.
- Robert B.
Two of Britain's biggest food retailers have announced they will phase out artificial colours and flavourings amid concern about the substances' impact on children's behaviour.
Asda said its new guarantee meant that E-numbers would be removed from all its own-brand products by the end of the year, while Marks & Spencer promised to do the same for 99 per cent of its food in the same time. The sweetener Aspartame is also being removed
Some additives have been linked to temper tantrums, poor concentration, hyperactivity, and allergic reactions in children.
A team from the University of Southampton has been researching the effect of seven additives on three-year-olds and eight-to-nine year olds in a study for the Food Standards Agency, which is expected to be published later this year. It is expected to raise concern about the combined chemical impact of six colours studied - tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211).
Announcing its move, Asda, Britain's third biggest supermarket, said it will cost £30m to remove artificial colours, flavours, hydrogenated fat or flavour enhancers, such as monosodium glutamate from its 9,000 own label food and soft drinks.
Artificial colours such as carmine (E120), erythrosine (E127), quinoline (E104) and sulphite ammonia caramel (E150d) will be either dropped outright or replaced with natural colours and fruit and vegetables. Artificial flavours will be replaced with natural flavours, such as vanilla. Aspartame is being replaced with Sucralose, a sweetener made from sugar.
Acknowledging that parental concern on additives is rising, Darren Blackhurst, Asda's food trading director, said: "We know our customers, particularly the mums and dads, are becoming more and more concerned about what's in the food that they buy."
M&S said that 4,455 food products and soft drinks would be free of artificial colours and flavours by the end of 2007. The chain, which is still working on ways of reformulating 45 items of confectionery and cola drinks, has already dropped monosodium glutamate and tartrazine from its products.
Additives particularly associated with concerns about food intolerance and children's diets such as Ponceau 4R and Sunset Yellow are often used in cakes and bakery. "Removing artificial colourings and flavourings from our cakes was really important for us, as our birthday cakes are enjoyed by parents and children alike," said a spokesman. The artificial colours quinoline, brilliant blue, allura red, and carmosine once used in birthday cakes had been replaced with beetroot and paprika natural colours, the store said.
M&S's director of technology, David Gregory, said 95 per cent of its foods would be free from artificial colourings and flavourings by September.
Nick Giovannelli, the project director of the Hyperactive Children's Support Group, welcomed the news and said the retailer's step was "a significant undertaking and a big commitment."
A brief guide to E-numbers
Although all E-numbers have been tested and approved for use within the EU, concerns about them persist. Researchers have associated problems with the following:
Colouring found in sweets, drinks and other food. Potential effects include headaches
Ponceau 4R (E124)
Colouring found in cake mixes and dessert toppings. Potential effects include hives, hay fever and hyperactivity
Sunset Yellow (E110)
Colouring found in fruit juice, cereal and confectionery. Potential effects include hay fever, eczema and hyperactivity
Colouring found in sweets and marzipan. Potential effects include asthma
Quinoline Yellow (E104)
Colouring found in processed foods, lipsticks, soap and toothpaste. Potential effects include asthma, hives and skin rash
Allura Red AC (E129)
Colouring found in cereals and biscuits. Potential effects include allergic reactions, asthma and hyperactivity