Mars is stepping up its efforts to remove artificial colours from its confectionery products, the company said today (13 September).

The Starburst brand will be free from all artificial colours by the end of year, Mars told just-food this afternoon.

The company will also take steps to remove certain artificial colours from its Skittles brand by the end of the year.

"Skittles will be free from all the artificial colours highlighted in the study by Southampton University by the end of this year," a Mars spokesperson said.

The moves follow the publication last week of a study from Southampton University that claimed to show a link between certain artificial food additives and colourings and hyperactivity in children.

The Mars spokesperson added: ""We have already removed four colours mentioned in the Southampton study from Peanut and Choco M&M's and we will remove E104 by the end of this year.

"We will continue to review the use of additives in our brand portfolio.  All additives are clearly listed on the packs."