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EUR/UK: AG Barr reiterates colouring replacement plan

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AG Barr has told just-drinks that it remains committed to replacing Sunset Yellow in its flagship Irn-Bru drink, after the European Commission confirmed proposals to lower the maximum limit for the colouring in food and drink.

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Last week, the European Commission told just-drinks that a proposal to set a lower limit on Sunset Yellow is currently being finalised. It wants to see the lower limit introduced by the end of the year.

Sunset Yellow is one of several colourings that has been linked to increased risk of hyperactivity in children.

AG Barr's head of marketing, Adrian Troy, told just-drinks on Friday (17 June) that the company has been involved in an EU consultation process on plans to reduce use of Sunset Yellow, via the British Soft Drinks Association.

"We will await the outcome of the EU process and will then be in a better position to assess and comment at that stage," Troy said. "As previously stated, we are committed to replacing the colours used in IRN-BRU and we continue to make progress against that aim."

The drinks maker added that new usage rules are not being drawn up because of Sunset Yellow's specific link to hyperactivity, but "on the basis of toxicology and food safety".

Separately, GlaxoSmithKline told just-drinks that it is also aware of the Commission's plan for Sunset Yellow, which is used in its Lucozade Original drink.

"In conjunction with our trade associations we are engaging with the relevant policy makers as they works towards a ruling on this matter," GSK said.

In 2007, a study by the University of Southampton in the UK linked six colourings to higher risk of hyperactivity in children. Following publication of the study, the UK's Food Standards Agency called for a voluntary ban on use of the colourings in food and drink.

Many multiple retailers and producers in the UK removed all artificial colourings from their products, although the British Soft Drinks Association has continued to question the validity of the Southampton study.

In July last year, the European Commission introduced EU-wide, mandatory warning labels on food and drink that still contained any one of the colourings named in the 2007 study. All of the colourings remain cleared for use in the EU.


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