HC Deb 18 January 2000 vol 342 c416W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent assessment he has made of the safety of the additive beta carotene, with particular reference to the concentrations available in soft drink products. [104529]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 13 January 2000]: Beta carotene is naturally present in a wide variety of foods. It is also added to foods as a means of providing additional Vitamin A to consumers (it is converted to Vitamin A in the body). In addition, it may be used as a food colour.

There is no evidence that the amounts consumed by adults and children from food are harmful. However, the UK Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals will be reviewing the safety of this substance later this year as part of a wide ranging study of the safety of vitamins and minerals generally. In addition, the EU Scientific Committee for Food is currently considering the safety aspects of its use as a colour. Intakes from this latter source are however low compared to its use as a source of Vitamin A and its natural occurrence.

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