Last night TV3’s 60 minute program looked at the issue of food colourings and whether or not they affect children’s behaviour.
While the experiments used in the item were not scientific the research that prompted the kiwi journalists to highlight this issue caused shockwaves when it was released in the United Kingdom in 2007.
The research – which was undertaken by the University of Southampton – found a link between hyperactivity in children and artificial food colourings.According to one of my favourite news sources European regulators are now working on a continent wide ban of the food colourings.
However in New Zealand we seem to be taking a cruisier, more relaxed attitude to kids’ health and safety.
Our own Food Safety authority considers New Zealand kids are unlikely to be putting their health at risk from consuming synthetic food colourings. The research cited backing up this statement is nearly a decade old and the page hasn’t been updated (at time of writing this blog) for 10 months.
Sue K highlighted this issue last year and it is worth noting that many teachers consider dietary intake does indeed have a great impact on behaviour in the classroom. Of course earlier this year our school canteens which had been on a road to good health are now back in the business of outdoing Willy Wonka with the ability to sell any and all manner of food.
Time to sign the school food petition [PDF] and remind the Government that kids’ health and learning is being jeopardised with the decisions of those in Government and the inaction of public service watchdogs.