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UK: AG Barr implements Irn-Bru additive warning

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AG Barr has placed a “temporary” warning on Irn-Bru drinks labels over the use of artificial colourings linked to hyperactivity in children, in-line with new EU rules.

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From 20 July, any drinks maker using one of six artificial colourings linked to hyperactivity in children, must display this prominently on the packaging.

The labelling rule, enforced by the European Commission, followed a study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK in 2008 that showed the colourings can increase the risk of hyperactivity in children.

In January, AG Barr agreed to remove two colourings from its flagship Irn-Bru drink, however the firm has yet to do so.

"We are fully committed to replacing two food colours in our products in line with FSA guidelines, and we have been working hard to achieve this for the past two years," AG Barr said.

Despite this, the firm said it has placed a “temporary declaration” on Irn-Bru packs “to give consumers accurate information about this issue”.

In the meantime, AG Barr said: “With Irn-Bru the programme is going well, however it is taking longer because it is a unique product and a unique colour. We will only complete the process when we’re 100% satisfied that the outcome is right for our consumers.”

Many soft drinks firms in the UK have been working to remove the colourings from their formulations, since the FSA called for a "voluntary ban".

Pharmaceutical giant GSK told just-drinks back in March that it intended to remove sunset yellow from its flagship Lucozade Energy Original drink. However, the firm has also so far been unable to do so "due to technical difficulties".

A statement issued by the firm today, said: “We are committed to finding an alternative to Sunset Yellow and have invested significantly in exploring viable alternative formulations that will not affect the look, taste or aroma of Lucozade Energy. We are making significant progress and our efforts continue.

“Lucozade Energy is not designed for or marketed towards children under 16.  However, to enable all of our consumers to make informed choices, for some time now the label has carried this advice: ‘Sunset Yellow may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’.”


Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: AG Barr

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