Press Centre

Asda welcomes Ministerial acceptance of FSA proposal for a ban on six suspect food colourings

ASDA welcomes Ministerial acceptance of the FSA’s proposal for a voluntary ban on six food colourings linked to an increased risk of hyperactivity in children.

The supermarket is renewing its call for other manufacturers and retailers to follow its lead by committing to the removal of all artificial colours, flavours and flavour enhancers.

Earlier this year, ASDA became the first UK supermarket to remove artificial colours and flavours and flavour enhancers (such as monosodium glutamate) from its 9,000 own label food and soft drink products following a £30 million investment. Other UK supermarkets and big brands still have a substantial way to go.

The FSA voluntary ban will call for the removal of six food colourings, all of which have been removed by ASDA, which were shown by the Southampton Study to increase hyperactivity in children:

  • E102 Tartrazine
  • E104 Quinoline Yellow
  • E110 Sunset Yellow
  • E122 Carmoisine
  • E124 Ponceau 4R
  • E129 Allura Red

Darren Blackhurst, Food Trading Director at ASDA, comments:

“We know our customers are becoming more and more concerned about what’s in the food they buy and we want to do all we can to make natural, healthy food as affordable and accessible as possible for everyone.

“We’ve worked overtime for the last few years to strip out unnecessary additives such as artificial colours and flavours from all our own label products and would welcome a voluntary ban which should encourage others to follow our lead.”

ASDA has worked hard to ensure that, as far as possible, the taste and appearance of its products are not affected by their re-formulation. However, there are a few products where the removal of artificial colours is challenging customers to judge products by their taste and not by their appearance.

The removal of Tartrazine (E102) from ASDA’s mushy peas, for example, means the peas are now a paler hue, as they lose much of their natural green colour when cooked, rather than the familiar bright green colour that customers have come to expect. The taste, however, has not been affected at all by the change.

Posted in Press Centre on 14 November 2008