HC Deb 04 June 1985 vol 80 cc129-30W
Mr. Coombs

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research his Department is currently undertaking into the dietary effect of food additives.

Mrs. Fenner

Research into the potential effects of additives on humans is presently funded by this Ministry at various centres in the United Kingdom. The objectives of this research are to determine whether or not there are validated adverse reactions to food additives both in the general population and in a group of asthmatic children; to investigate the relationship between the clinical effects and food additives; and to elucidate the physiological changes, if any, which have occurred.

Mr. Fry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what foods are prohibited from having E320 and E321 additives in them;

(2) if he will list those foods for family consumption which allow additives E320 and E321.

Mrs. Fenner

The use of additives E320 (Butylated hydroxyyanisole) and E321 (Butylated hydroxtoluene) is strictly controlled by the Antioxidants in Food Regulations 1978 (SI 1978 No. 105) as amended. Schedule 3 of the regulations defines the permitted uses and specified levels of E320 and E321 in a number of food ingredients including dairy products for manufacturing, and anhydrous edible oils and fats. Their use in food intended for babies or young children is specifically prohibited with the exception of certain vitamin A preparations.

Mr. Dykes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, with a view to carrying out the recommendation contained in paragraph 33 of the report by the Food Additives and Containments Committee on the "Review of Sweeteners in Food", published in 1982 (FAC/REP/34), he will now undertake a survey of the number of food and drink products currently being, or shortly to be, marketed in the United Kingdom which contain the intense sweetener Aspartame.

Mrs. Fenner

No. As I have explained to my hon. Friend before, most recently on 18 March 1985, at column 403, information on the intake of all permitted sweeteners will be collected and reviewed within the next four years. The Food Additives and Contaminants committee endorsed the recommendation of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment that the collection of this information should be carried out when sufficient time has been allowed for the market to stabilise. The market is still developing and it would be inappropriate to start a review yet.