Uncovered: The Hidden Dangers in Our Food; CONSUMER STUDY INTO ADDITIVES BRINGS NEW CALLS FOR CLEARER LABELLING

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Byline: ISABEL OAKESHOTT

NEW research reveals today the full dangers of additives in our food and drink.

A study by the Consumer Association shows how unappetising additives in regular use include wood chip, chalk and pigment from dried insect bodies.

Consumer wat chdogs claimed many food labels read "more like a chemistry experiment than something you'd want to eat" and called for far clearer labelling.

Foods highlighted in the study include Golden Wonder crispy bacon Wheat Crunchies, which contain flavourings and colouring but no bacon; Rowntree's sugar-free strawberry flavour jelly, which contains no strawberries, and Calypso Freezepops, which contain a raft of flavourings, stabilisers, preservatives and sweeteners.

Millions of shoppers try to avoid products with artificial flavourings and preservatives amid mounting health fears. One third of the 2000 people surveyed by Consumer Which? magazine said they did not want these foods.

Additives have been linked to skin rashes, asthma attacks, headaches, behaviour problems and even brain tumours. But offenders - many of them foodstuffs targeted at children - contain them, often listed as E numbers and used as a substitute for "real" ingredients.

Amanda Bristow, who compiled the report, said: "Food additives can be labelled with either their E number, or their chemical name, or both. …