Six artificial additives which are being removed from all food in the UK after scientists likened their detrimental effects to those of lead on children’s development are the focus of a new campaign supported by over 100 influential Australians.
Launched on Monday (8 Sep), the campaign unites the three leading food additive consumer advocates in the country, Julie Eady from Additive Alert, Sue Dengate from the Food Intolerance Network and Kathleen Daalmeyer from Additive Education.
The Kids First Campaign will demand that Australia’s Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) follow the UK’s lead by placing consumers first and banning the six additives in question from Australian food.
The colours are being phased out in the UK after research from the University of Southampton, published in the esteemed medical journal The Lancet, confirmed they caused adverse behaviour affects in children.
All leading supermarkets and major confectionery manufacturers in the UK are now in the process of removing the additives from their products.
As part of the Kids First Campaign, an open letter to FSANZ has accused the organisation of failing consumers and neglecting its responsibility to protect children’s health.
The letter is signed by dozens of doctors, paediatricians, medical practitioners, academics, naturopaths, manufacturers, child health educators, dieticians, manufacturers, retailers, chefs and celebrities.
Amongst the campaign’s respected supporters are Perth Developmental Paediatrician Dr John Wray, who specialises in children’s brain disorders and behaviour, renowned dietician and author Dr Joanna McMillan-Price, PhD Nutrit. Sc, and Prof Kerryn Phelps, Founder Uclinic, Past President of the AMA and Adjunct Professor, Sydney University Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health.
The signatories tell FSANZ that it is wrong to not have acted swiftly to phase out the additives from Australian foods in light of the research and that it should legislate for them to be banned from all food and drink products by 2010.
The letter is part of a major lobbying campaign which includes an online petition at www.additivealert.com.au which enables consumers to add their voice.
Founder of the campaign, Julie Eady, says Australian consumers expect and assume that the safety of their food supply is a priority, and it is unacceptable to continue to use additives which are being phased out in other countries because of proven risks.
“Australian children deserve no less protection, and it is up to FSANZ to ensure that our food is free from additives and contaminants which could cause harm,” she says
“FSANZ is continuing to allow additives, which have been shown to be detrimental to children, to be used widely throughout our foods and we are urging the public to support the campaign and add their voice to our online petition.
“Given the strength of the scientific evidence, the proactive example set by the UK’s food agency, and the duty of FSANZ to the Australian public, we are requesting the FSANZ board to review the agency’s position on this as a matter of priority and we want consumers to assist us in getting the message across loud and clear.
The additives which form the focus of the Kids First Campaign are Tartrazine 102, Quinoline Yellow 104, Sunset Yellow 110, Carmoisine 122, Ponceau Red 124 and Allura Red 129. They are widely used in lollies and drinks as well as in everyday foods such as yoghurt, fruit juice, muesli bars and ice cream.
In addition to being removed from foods in the UK, several of these additives have been banned for decades due to safety concerns in other countries including the USA and parts of Europe.
In the future, Australian food exporters to the EU will be required to place a warning on coloured foods stating: ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’, but the same food currently does not need a similar warning in Australia.
“With the building consumer momentum against harmful additives in food we expect to see thousands of Australian consumers support our campaign,” said Julie Eady.
The Kids First Campaign online petition can be found at www.additivealert.com.au.
Media contacts: Ruth Gourley, Shine Communications, (08) 9203 5891/0434 330 384, Julie Eady, 0418 955 361 or Sue Dengate, 0408 801 490
Selection of campaign signatories – Note full list is available from above contacts
Dr Lindsay Adams, MBBS, FRACP, Paediatrician
Dr Ivy J Bullen, MD, MBBS, D (Obst), RCOG, Fellow of the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, Balya Cancer Self Help and Wellness Inc
Dr Peter Daale, BPsych, MSc, DBA, MAPS, FAIM, CEO, Cancer Support Assoc of WA
Mr David Day, CEO, Mundella Foods Pty Ltd
A/Prof Peter Dingle, BEd, BSc, PhD, Nutritional and Environmental Toxicologist
Ms Anna Gare, TV Chef, The Lifestyle Channel
Dr Jason Han, Psychologist, PhD (Ed Psych), MSc (Neuro Psych), BSc (Hons), MAPS AAANT, Balya Cancer Self Help and Wellness Inc
Dr Peter Holsman, Medical Director, Well Being Institute of Australia
Dr John Irvine, Child psychologist and author, Director, Read Clinic
Prof George Jelinek, Professor Emergency Medicine, University of Western Australia
Dr Joe Kosterich, MBBS, CEO, Australasian Institute of Anti-Aging Medicine (AIAM)
John Hyde MLA WA Parliamentary Secretary for Health
Ros Worthington OAM, Founder Make a Wish Foundation
Ms Judy Davie, Nutritionist, The Food Coach, Author, Read the Label
Ms Barb de Corti, Founder and CEO, Enjo Australia
Ian Parmenter International celebrity chef