Aussie kids consume low levels of food colours

August 2012

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released a report which confirms that Australian children are consuming low levels of food colours.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said the report provided up-to-date data on colours in Australian foods that was consistent with findings from a 2008 food colours
survey conducted by FSANZ.

“The report found an overall reduction in estimated dietary exposure to colours in the 2–16 year old age group compared to the previous survey,” Mr McCutcheon said.

“For example, the estimated dietary exposure to Sunset Yellow for high consumers aged 13 – 16 years was 2.57 mg/day. In 2008 the dietary exposure for high consumers for a similar age group (13 – 18 years) to Sunset Yellow was estimated to be 5.19 mg/day.

“For each colour investigated, the estimated dietary exposure was less than 5% of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) in all cases.”

The ADI is an internationally accepted estimate of the amount of a substance added to a food or drinking water that people can eat daily over a lifetime without harm.

“The report confirmed there was no public health and safety risk from consuming foods with added colours as part of a balanced diet,” Mr McCutcheon said.  

“Like all food additives, colours must undergo a safety assessment by FSANZ before they can be used in food or drinks sold in Australia or New Zealand.

“FSANZ recognises that some people prefer to avoid certain food colours. For this reason, food colours must be declared on the label.”  

Read the report

Read the 2008 food colours survey

Food colours fact sheet