§ Mr. Hendry
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effect of food colourings on the behaviour of children. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 21 January 2003]The Committee on Toxicity of Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) assessed a recent study investigating the possible effects of food colourings on the behaviour of children. COT considered that, while the research findings were consistent with the published reports, it was not possible to reach any firm conclusions about the significance of the observed effects.
The Food Standards Agency subsequently established a working group to advise on the feasibility of further research. The group held its first meeting on 13 December 2002 and is expected to conclude its work this spring.