Blog: Are additives the "secret shame" of US food?
Dean Best | 9 June 2008
After months of debate in Europe, the battle over additives has resurfaced on another front – the US.
Allegations of links between artificial food colourings and hyperactivity in children intensified across the Atlantic last week after high-profile consumer watchdog The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for a ban on eight synthetic dyes.
The CSPI, renowned for being robust in its dealings with the US food industry, said the use of the dyes was the “secret shame” of manufacturers and called on the US Food and Drug Administration to outlaw the colourings.
Intriguingly, at the heart of the CSPI’s case were studies, including the controversial Southampton University study in the UK, that claim the use of certain additives worsens behaviour in children.
The Southampton study has proved a focus for much of the European disputes over additives and hyperactivity. The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), which sponsored the report, has used it to call for an EU-wide ban on certain colourings.
However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU’s food watchdog, has cast doubt on the study’s findings, saying the report provides “limited evidence” of any link with behavioural problems.
Perhaps predictably, US food manufacturers were quick to use these reservations to dismiss the CSPI’s case and to back the use of the dyes.
Nevertheless, the CSPI is unlikely to give up without a fight and will no doubt seek to keep the issue in the public domain.
Here in the UK, consumer pressure has prompted food manufacturers to remove a raft of artificial colourings and additives from their products on a voluntary basis. Pressure groups would say much more needs to be done but, should there be a similar push from US consumers, food manufacturers across the Atlantic are sure to face concerted calls for change.
A year after union officials alleged Fyffes abused workers on plantations in Central America - and called on the produce giant to be kicked out of the Ethical Trading Initiative forum - the company is...
Much of the chatter about where 3G Capital could look next has centred on packaged food - but might the private-equity fund be about to extend its foodservice empire?...
Headlines that Mead Johnson's board has backed Reckitt Benckiser's takeover bid will no doubt overshadow the other news on the group this week – that it is facing a US lawsuit from a “whistle blower” ...
Kantar Worldpanel issued its monthly supermarket share data in the UK this morning - and the numbers showed a change in the identity of the country's top five food retailers....
- Focus: Nestle CEO plan to balance sales, earnings
- Does Kraft Heinz want to swallow Unilever whole?
- Will Kellogg's DSD exit help it grow in US snacks?
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- Is Mondelez's margin target hurting sales?
- Nestle plans restructuring as 2016 profit misses
- Danone eyes efficiency, agility with new structure
- Kraft Heinz pursuing Unilever in takeover move
- Kraft Heinz returns to organic growth, ups margins
- Danone sales dampened by Europe, China