The unnecessary use of colourings, flavourings and artificial sweeteners in foods, drinks and medicines, particularly for children and other vulnerable groups is given little scrutiny.
Foods with added flavourings, colourings and sweeteners are often nutrient poor but can encourage children to have taste preferences for sweet and highly flavoured foods. The composition, quality and safety of our foods, drinks and medicines impact on the health and well-being of the entire population.
The use of artificial sweeteners to replace calorific sugars and sweeteners in foods is increasing as sugar reduction programmes are encouraged by public health departments and national programmes. Find out more about artificial sweeteners in the diets of infants and young children here.
Flavourings is the biggest sector in the global food and additives ingredients market. Find out more about how, and where, flavourings are used in foods and drinks for children and how they are safety tested and regulated.
The use of colourings in foods is common, but since 2008 there has been a requirement in the EU that products which contain some artificial colourings carry a warning label that they may be linked to hyperactivity in children. Find out more about colourings in foods and drinks here.