Watercooler: is synthetic food colouring bad for you?

IS synthetic food colouring bad for you?

A blog by a Brisbane mother on the ingredients in food colouring has sparked a debate over the safety of the product.

Joanne Ling, from wholefoods blog Sistermixin' wrote: "I remembered we had some old food colours in the back of the pantry that I'd kept for playdough tinting, so we made some coloured water out of them.  

"I knew the ingredients were not great (we are an additive free family), so I thought I'd have a closer look and jot down what all those numbers actually mean…  HOLY CRAPOLA!!!"

Ms Ling said she used free app Additive Alert to find out what each of the numbers listed in the ingredients were.

According to the app, majority of the food colourings contained additives that reportedly cause behaviour problems, possible liver damage and hyperactivity.

The blog went on to say that according to Additive Alert the blue and green food colouring contained 133 or Brilliant Blue, a suspected carcinogen apparently banned in Belgium, France, Sweden, Austria, Norway and Germany.

Ms Ling said after her children played in the coloured water her son "came out in a massive rash...If it gives him a big rash just by touching the stuff, imagine what it would do to his insides!!!".

However, according to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) website like all food additives, colours under go safety assessments and the colours currently approved have been "used safely for decades".

FSANZ acknowledged some people notice a reaction to either natural or synthetic additives.

"Reported reactions include rashes, irritable bowel symptoms, headaches, and behavioural changes in children."

So what do you think: are synthetic food colourings safe or unsafe to use?

Could we be feeding our kids additives that are banned in other countries?

Where do you stand on the debate?

What you're saying on Facebook:

Emily O'halloran: "For goodness sake NOTHING that is processed is any good for you!!!!! I thought that was common knowledge..."

Amanda Sawdy: "Of course they're bad for you! Anyone who thinks they aren't are kidding themselves! I don't understand why this would turn into a debate. Is it those who are living in reality vs those who are in denial? For goodness sake! Wake up people!"

Mark Teh GodKing: "There is no real debate there is mountains of peer reviewed journals that show that food colouring is bad for you."

Molly Veronica Ormonde: "Everything is bad for you these days."

Vittoria Wilson: "Been using it for years never had a problem.... Don't think 1 drop is going to hurt.... be different if you drank it by the bottle maybe."

Jaime Murphy: "What's her chemistry background? Biology education? Anything at all that would make her a credible source? I'll get my nutritional information from scientific sources before I freak out about what a Mommy Blogger thinks."

Maureen Secombe: "A great blog by these two women. I hope people read it and take on board the info. These colouring and additives like them found in so much of our food is I am sure why so many of us have food allergies and gut problems. Please take the time to read this."

Micaela Lowe: "Well unless you're drinking it from the bottle or eating dyed foods every single day it's not a huge drama, you use 5 drops to a full batch of icing, hardly fear inducing stuff."

Tanya Denning: "Just about every packaged item on the supermarket shelf is bad for you."

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