European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) proposed to amend the current permitted levels of some food colors.
Quinoline yellow, Sunset yellow, Ponceau 4R, Tartrazine (E102), Azorubine/Carmoisine (E122) and Allura Red AC (E129) are the six colours that were used in a study undertaken by Southampton University that provided evidence for a possible link between the consumption of these food colours and hyperactivity in children (or linking certain mixtures of these colours and the preservative sodium benzoate with hyperactivity in children).
European Food Safety Authority has lowered the Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) for the artificial food colours Quinoline Yellow (E104), Sunset Yellow FCF (E110) and Ponceau 4R (E124).
Tartrazine (E102), Azorubine/Carmoisine (E122) and Allura Red AC (E129) did not require a change to the existing ADIs (average daily intake). Only people who are consuming large amount of food and drink containing these colors have a possibility of exceeding above ADIs.
Tartrazine, may bring about intolerance reactions – such as irritations to the skin – in a small part of the population.
Following the publication of the Southampton study, the Food Standards Agency requested UK industry to withdraw voluntarily the six colours from food and drink. In addition, there is a new EU labelling requirement (from 20 July 2010) for any foods continuing to contain any of the six colours.