HC Deb 18 June 1997 vol 296 cc163-4W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of food additives in use in the United Kingdom are(a) proven and (b) suspected animal carcinogens, teratogens or both; and if he will make a statement. [2635]

Ms Jowell

Food additives are not included in permitted lists unless there is a technological need for them and they are considered safe-in-use. Currently, a number of regulations made under the United Kingdom's Food Safety Act 1990 control the use of food additives, which are approved through the European Commission's Scientific Committee for Food (SCF). Safety is the paramount consideration and positive evidence of this, including the results of specified toxicological tests, is required before approval is given. Known human carcinogens or teratogens are not permitted for use as food additives.

It is not possible to give a percentage of additives which may have been suspected of being carcinogenic or teratogenic in animals, nor are internationally agreed classification systems available that permit the categorisation of food additives as proven animal carcinogens or teratogens.

Research into food additives is kept under constant review and if any adverse evidence should come to light the SCF would be asked to reconsider their advice.

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