FSA decides additives DO affect children after all
The Food Standards Agency seems to completely ignore any studies that anyone else does. At last it has done its very own study of the effects of additives on children’s behaviour and has decided that yes, what we have known for thirty years is true: additives DO affect children’s behaviour and cause ADHD in children.
The FSA is obviously a bit of a ‘slow learner’ when it comes to catching on and probably ought to be sent to special school in order to catch up. Bless.
What is surprising and amazing is that the FSA study – allegedly ‘beyond reproach’ in it’s methodology and size – did nothing to limit salicylates and amines in the diets of the children studied, yet still managed to achieve highly significant results. An incomplete list of food colourings and additives were first removed from the children’s diets, then they were challenged. The additive cocktail used in the study – or a placebo – was fed to children in a drink of fruit juice (hardly a low-chemical option, one might even suggest a great way to obscure or lessen the impact of the results). The symptoms the children experienced included speaking in loud voices, not paying attention, being naughty, being hyperactive, and performing worse in school work. I’m sure they’ve barely scratched the surface. Though a minority of children were badly affected, most of the children were affected to some extent or another.
The FSA’s response to this shocking discovery? It is advising that parents of children with suspected ADHD should limit or avoid additives in the diets of those children. It has passed the buck of making any legislative decisions over to the EU.
Several British newspapers are campaigning for a total ban. This is one of those rare times in my life when I can actually say I support The Daily Mail. Some of the media coverage over the last few days has even mentioned words like ‘aspirin’ and ‘Ben Feingold’. Hallelujah. Most of the news articles on the subject assert the argument that since most of the children were affected to some extent – not just that five percent minority we are always hearing about – that the additives are harmful to all children and should be banned on the basis that they don’t just affect a small minority.
A couple of points on this: 1) I bet they wouldn’t say the same thing if they had studied high-chemical fruits and vegetables and inevitably got similar results – such a discovery would be firmly swept into the ‘we can’t really be seeing this, it’s something that only affects a small number of genetically weird people’ category. 2) If the results had come back showing that only a small number of genetically weird people were affected by additives, would the newspapers be campaigning for a total ban? Or is the suffering of a 5% minority of people perfectly acceptable?
There is so much coverage I can’t really post it all here, but I’ll list a few links:
From The Daily Mail, a right-wing paper:
- Watchdog warns of E numbers that make children misbehave
- Parents warned over food additives
- Food watchdog condemned for ‘totally inadequate’ response to harmful food additives
- What happens when a family decides to junk the additives
- Now ban the food additives: Daily Mail Campaign begins
- We ban smoking yet allow our children to be poisoned with food additives
- Children betrayed by a toothless watchdog
From The Guardian, a left-wing paper:
- After 30 years of debate, fears over children’s food confirmed
- Danger to children from food and drink additives is exposed
- ‘We’ve known for ages – diet really makes a difference’
- Ill by mouth
- Chemical Cocktail
- Q&A: Food fears: A consumer guide to artificial additives
- What’s added takes away
- Judgment coloured on food additives