There has been a plethora of research and evidence presented over the past ten years or so regarding the potential carcinogenic and harmful effects of food colourings and flavourings yet food manufacturers persist in using such additives. Some flavourings have been banned in countries such as Norway, Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany and USA. Also the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (HACGS) is of the belief that some food colourings and flavourings together with emulsifiers cause allergic reactions in children and strongly advise avoiding them altogether. Whilst the other countries mentioned above have taken positive steps in this regard, it has been said that the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (TGA) relies upon the 'Grandfather Clause' to sanction the use of food flavourings. Moreover, Australian food laws provide that manufacturers do not have to disclose what food flavourings they use during the manufacturing process.
The irony being that majority of the colour is either leached or bleached out of the ingredients during the manufacturing process. Therefore to make the product more appealing to the market place and consumer the food manufacturers use a range of artificial colourings to create the chocolate colouring.
For example there is a popular chocolate coated biscuit comprising of a chocolate filled centre sandwiched between two biscuits which, as a party trick, I can remember, after having bitten off both ends of the biscuit, I then sucked coffee up through the biscuit. This party trick is commonly known as a ‘............. Slam’ and it was recognised as poor form to allow the soaked biscuit to disintegrate and fall into one’s coffee!
The following is a schedule of the respective food colourings used during the manufacturing process as set out in Lillian Reekie's book 'Hidden Dangers'.
E102 known as Tartrazine
A suspected carcinogen.
Reported allergens in 80% of hyper-active children and 15% of the population of Australia;
Known to cause asthma, aggressive behaviour, confusion, uncontrolled hyper-agitation and urticaria (skin rashes such as hives);
Known to trigger, breathing problems, hay fever, purple patches on the skin and blurred vision.
E110 known as Sunset Yellow and is an AZO dye-Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon
Probability of causing cancer;
Known to cause swelling of blood vessels, gastric upset vomiting and urticaria, hay fever bronchoconstriction anaphylactic reactions, eosonophilotactic response purpurpa, a condition characterized by hemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes that result in the appearance of purplish spots or patches and abdominal pain and vomiting.
It is considered very dangerous with asthmatics, people with ADHD, ADD and hay fever; also people with allergic reactions to aspirin are at a significant risk.
E110 has been banned in the following countries, Norway Finland and Sweden.
E129 known as Allura Red AC
It is known to cause lymphomas and tumours It is dangerous for asthmatics and people with urticaria and hay fever
t is known to cause increased heart rate and implicated in behaviourial problems.
E129 has been banned in the following countries European Economic Community, Finland, Norway and Austria.
E133 known as Brilliant Blue FCF and is a Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon, Triphenylmethane dye.
It is known to cause cancer and chromosomal damage
It is known to cause hyperactivity and allergic reactions It is very dangerous for young children, asthmatics and people who are sensitive to aspirin.
E133 has been banned in the United Kingdom, West Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and France.
E150 known as Caramel and the following effects apply to both the colouring and flavouring.
It is known to cause hyperactivity, damages genes and may cause convulsions
It is known to enlarge the kidneys and bowel · It is known to destroy vitamin B6
It is being investigated as a mutagen which damages the human DNA and a teratogen which causes foetal deformity
It is known to cause reproductive problems.
Further examples can be found in Lillian Reekie’s book ‘Hidden Dangers’ for which I have provided the link to her web site at the end of the article.
Having spoken with a Mars Australia spokes person on the 11th November 2010 I was told that Mars Australia the manufacturers of Mars Bars does not use food colourings that are harmful or potential carcinogens in the manufacturing of their bar products i.e. Mars Bars and Milky Way. However they do use food colourings in M&Ms and defend this by saying such manufacturing practices are in accordance with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) policies and guidelines. However, FSANZ only regulates approximately 300 of the 3,000 food additives. The FSANZ allegedly relies upon the 'Grandfather Clause' to allow manufacturers to use the potentially harmful food colourings and flavourings.
Grandfather Clause: A provision in a statute that exempts those already involved in a regulated activity or business from the new regulations established by the statute.
In conclusion and very disturbing, it is my understanding that food manufacturers are not required under Australian law to declare what flavourings are in their product other than to state contains food flavours. The Australian public is held to ransom by the food manufacturers as and until such time as truth in labeling becomes a reality and is accordingly legislated.
Here are some useful and informative web site links.
Below is an introductory extract from Peter’s web site
‘A report published by the Pesticide Action Network of North America has found that the American people are exposed to approximately 70 daily doses of persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) through their diets. They state that "Virtually all food products are contaminated with (POP’s) that have been banned in the U.S.”
These are only the chemicals used on foods before processing begins. Once the processors get their hands on natural ingredients they start adding even more chemicals:
Preservatives, Artificial colouring, Artificial flavoring, Flavor enhancers, Humectants, Emulsifiers, Thickeners, Vegetable gums, Anti-caking agents, Food acids, Mineral salts, Stabilisers etc, etc, etc!
The "Food Safety and Inspection Service” of the United States Department of Agriculture (FSIS) reported in November 2001 that there are approximately 2,800 substances used as food additives.
In Australia we are informed by "Food Standards Australia and New Zealand” (Formerly ANZFA) of approximately 295 food additives.
Cancer, asthma, hyperactivity etc are all rampant throughout Australian society and it is now well established that a great number of the most common additives in processed foods are linked to these and many other illnesses. It is vital for all Australians to be, and to remain, informed about the possible harmful effects of certain food additives.
Somebody once said, "Knowledge is power.” I believe that it follows that knowledge can assist us all in maintaining a healthier life style. Remember it is not necessary to go without, but it is important to make change and to continually be on the lookout for safer products. For every nasty product in the market place there is a safer equivalent!
Peter M. Taubert
Monday, October 14, 2002’
The Institute of Science in Society
The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group
Food Safety and Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand
Dr Sarah Lantz PHD
Pesticide Action Network of North America
Truth in Labelling
Lillian and Andrew Reekie