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Mothers worried about food coloring in children’s diet

3 May 2009 3,273 views No Comment

MORE than half of Australian mothers believe their children’s behaviour is affected by foods with artificial colouring.

A nationwide survey of more than 1000 mothers found synthetic food colouring was among their top dietary concerns, second only to high levels of sugar.

But more than 30 per cent could not decipher which products had artificial or natural colouring, according to the motherinc.com.au survey.

A Sunday Herald Sun analysis of common “party foods” revealed high levels of synthetic colouring – some linked to illness and behavioural problems.

Some foods and drinks had an average of three artificial colours, according to their packaging.

The worst offender – 100s and 1000s – had six. That did not include other artificial additives.

Mother-of-three Kellie Servaas, of Ringwood, said she associated artificial colouring with “really silly behaviour”.

“They get really irritable and they can’t concentrate or follow instructions,” Mrs Servaas said.

“They just don’t have the self-control that they normally would.”

Mrs Servaas, who limits such foods for her children, said she was impressed by the increasing number of companies using “natural colours”, but said labelling was sometimes difficult to interpret.

Food Intolerance Network founder Sue Dengate said that while many food additives were harmless, some had serious health and behavioural effects.

Ms Dengate said about 50 additives used in Australia caused problems such as migraines, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and hyperactivity.

Artificial colours she recommended avoiding included numbers 102, 110, 129, 155 and 160b.

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