The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has since re-evaluated the safety of Sunset Yellow

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has since re-evaluated the safety of Sunset Yellow

The European Commission is set to propose a lower maximum limit for the colouring Sunset Yellow, following its link to hyperactivity in children, just-drinks has learnt.

A proposal to set a lower limit on Sunset Yellow is currently being finalised, a Commission spokesperson told just-drinks today (14 June). It will be presented for vote at a Standing Committee in September.

The Commission wants to see the lower limit introduced by the end of the year.

In July last year, the Commission introduced EU-wide, mandatory warning labels on food and drink containing any one of six colourings named in the 2007 University of Southampton study. The colours, Sunset Yellow, Quinoline Yellow and Ponceau4R, were linked to increased risk of hyperactivity in children in a UK-based study in 2007.

While many firms have replaced the colourings in their products, AG Barr still uses Sunset Yellow and Ponceau 4R in its flagship Irn-Bru soft drink, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) continues to use Sunset Yellow in its Lucozade Energy Original drink.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has already re-evaluated the safety of Sunset Yellow, and reduced the maximum intake level to 1mg per kg of body weight per day. However, this is now set to be reduced further under proposals by the Commission.

"[The] EFSA considered that the exposure to this substance can be too high," the Commission spokesperson told just-drinks today. "The Commission considers it therefore appropriate to reduce the current conditions of use and use levels, in several food categories, to ensure that the use of the food colours is safe, in particular for children."