Food Colours – Memo to FGC members

7 December 2012

The Food and Grocery Council here takes the rare step of issuing a full correction of a NZ Herald story on food colours that contained more than 70 errors of fact.

The story published on 26 October sought to highlight 18 food additives in use in New Zealand which were supposedly “banned” in other countries and which were claimed to be the cause of all sorts of alarming serious side effects, from birth defects to foetal deaths, cancer, and chromosomal damage.

The result was to create the impression that somehow our food regulatory system was out of step with the rest of the world and that New Zealanders were at risk of serious harm.

But most of the information published was either completely false, a misleading half-truth, or reprinted material cut-and-pasted from questionable food information websites.

In response, FGC entered discussions with the Herald in an attempt to seek corrections. But their attempt at clarification, on 7 November, served only to perpetuate the original false premise that many food colours in New Zealand are banned elsewhere.

Finally today, the NZ Herald has published a comprehensive list of colours, from information supplied by FGC, saying: “On October 26 we published an outdated and incorrect list of countries where certain food additives had been ‘banned’. This is an updated list taking into account European Council directives and countries’ correct stances.”

FGC’s full and updated list is contained in the following document: