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Originally published November 5 2010

In UK, sodas with artificial colors to carry hyperactivity warning

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The European Union has passed a law requiring all beverages that contain certain artificial colors to carry a warning that consumption of those products may lead to hyperactivity in children. As a consequence, two of the United Kingdom's best-selling beverages will now need to display this warning.

The law stems from a 2007 study conducted by the British Food Standards Agency (FSA) finding that six artificial colors and the preservative sodium benzoate (E211) could produce hyperactivity and attention disorders in children. The FSA responded a year later by asking manufacturers to voluntarily end their use of the ingredients. Many manufacturers did not do so, leading to the adoption of the new E.U. rule.

Beverages containing any of the six colorants must now display a warning that they "may have effects on activity and attention in children." Sodium benzoate is exempted from the rule.

"The mandatory warning will make it easier for people to choose products free from these colors," an FSA spokesperson said.

Among the affected beverages are best-sellers Lucozade and Irn-Bru. Lucozade Original, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is colored bright yellow by sunset yellow (E110). Irn-Bru, Scotland's best-selling beverage, is colored orange by a combination of sunset yellow and the red coloring ponceau 4R (E124). Sunset yellow is also known as tartrazine.

"Tartrazine is a bright yellow coal tar dye, commonly found in many sweets with colors ranging from cream to yellow to orange to green," writes Mary-Ann Shearer in her book Perfect Health the Natural Way.

"Tartrazine is generally recognized to be responsible for a wide range of allergic and intolerant symptoms, including hyperactivity in children, asthma, migraine headaches, and skin rashes," she writes. "According to some research, tartrazine is also suspected as a possible cause of cancer. Its use is prohibited in Norway and Finland and restricted in Sweden."

"I can't imagine a good reason why they are using these additives," said Jackie Schneider of the Children's Food Campaign.

"It's completely irresponsible," Schneider said. "We would rather they didn't use them, but if they do, they should be clearly labeled."

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