The Co-op has become the first supermarket group to ban a range of commonly-used colours and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in all its own-label food. Most people do not have a reaction to MSG and most artificial food colours. At the Healthy House we recommend that you avoid them because while your body might not react with a visible allergic reaction the addition of these chemicals may be stressing your immune system and can cause the effects of other allergies to be increased. There is also an article on the BBC health website. Co-op Bans MSG and Artificial Food Colours. The Co-op has become the first supermarket group to ban a range of commonly-used colours and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in all its own-label food, because of potential links to food intolerance* and fresh concerns about children's diets.According to independent research carried out amongst parents on behalf of the Co-op**:Six in 10 think that children's diets are worse than they were 10 years ago, with over a third (35 per cent) feeling that children's diets have got much worse in the last decadeA third (33 per cent) link their children's diet to hyperactivity, naughtiness, anger and lack of concentrationHowever, whilst 84 per cent of parents acknowledge that they are primarily responsible for ensuring the food children eat is healthy, followed by schools, government and manufacturers, less than half actually check the contents for sugar (45 per cent), artificial additives (43 per cent), fat (40 per cent) and salt (37 per cent), and a quarter (26 per cent) of all parents surveyed say they don't check the labels at allAlthough over a third (37 per cent) have never heard of MSG, on learning of possible links between MSG and food intolerance, 75 per cent say that they may at least re-think their food purchasing for children. Nearly half (43 per cent) say it would definitely affect the food they bought for children.The Co-op has acted to address these concerns and all Co-op brand products now have no added MSG flavour enhancer and are free from an additional 12 colours all of which should be avoided by children and those sensitive to additives according to the Hyperactive Children's Support Group (HACSG) bringing the total number of colours banned by the Co-op to 21***.Although these colours are still legally permitted for use in this country, some, such as Ponceau 4R (E124) and Quinoline Yellow (E104) are not allowed in the US, whilst Red 2G (E128) and Green S (E142) are not permitted in Japan.The Co-op's commitment was given added impetus by the results of its "Shopping with Attitude" survey in which 82 per cent of consumers said they found it difficult to trust the food they buy****. Half said it was wrong to artificially enhance products for commercial gain and nine out of 10 wanted retailers to make it easier to provide a healthy diet for them and their families.Following a comprehensive review of over 2,800 own-label food and drink products, the Co-op has now replaced the colours and flavour enhancer with natural alternatives where possible, but has de-listed products where no acceptable alternatives were available.The initiative is particularly relevant to everyday products eaten by children, because of concerns over the consumption of colours, some of which have been linked to allergies, hypersensitivity and hyperactivity in children. The Co-op move will help parents trying to control additives in their children's diet.Among the reformulated products are mushy and processed peas, which commonly use the well-known artificial colour Tartrazine (E102) and the less well-known Green S (E142). The Co-op has now replaced these with naturally-derived colourings.Notably, all Co-op crisps have now no added MSG, which is common in other crisps. All Co-op sausages no longer contain Carmines (E120) and Co-op chicken and mushroom pasta sauce now has no added MSG.Numerous children's products have also been reformulated, including dolly mixtures and flying saucers, which contained Quinoline Yellow (E104), Cochineal (E120), and Indigo Carmine (E132).Some 27 Co-op products have been de-listed, including marrowfat peas where no acceptable alternative could be found for Green S(E142)*****, and prawn cocktail shells, which contained Carminic Acid.The Co-op is also planning an in-store campaign to give parents a greater understanding of additives.Christine Clarke, head of Co-op brand, said: "In our Shopping with Attitude report, we made a number of commitments based on issues raised by our customers. Today's consumers want and expect higher standards of food integrity, and, as a responsible retailer, we are determined to meet these expectations by delivering food they can trust by removing unnecessary additives without compromising on safety and taste."The removal of MSG and these colours is in direct response to these concerns and the Co-op brand food range now has no added MSG and is free of these colours, even though we have had to de-list a number of products as a result."Sally Bunday, founder director of the Hyperactive Children's Support Group, said: " The HACSG and the families whom they represent welcome the Co-op's decision to remove artificial colourings and MSG from its own-label products. Parents whose children are sensitive to these additives or who prefer alternatives will appreciate the changes made by the Co-op."- ends -Notes to editors:* The following colours, all of which should be avoided according to the HACSG, have been removed from Co-op brand products:E120 Cochineal, Carmines and Carminic AcidE102 Tartrazine linked to intolerance/allergic reaction. Widely thought to cause hyperactivityE110 Sunset Yellow thought to cause allergic reaction, some evidence of gastric upset and some inference affects kidneysE122 Carmoisine linked to intolerance/allergic reactionE124 Ponceau 4R linked to intolerance/allergic reactionE129 Allura Red AC some evidence of hypersensitivityE104 Quinoline YellowE127 Erythrosine may affect thyroid hormone levels in children. Adverse effects on thyroidE131 Patent Blue V linked to intolerance/allergic reactionE132 Indigo Carmine linked to allergy/allergic reactionE142 Green S low incidence of testicular cancer has been reported in a studyE151 Brilliant Black (Black PN)** 629 parents of children aged 0-16 years were interviewed in May 2005 by NOP*** Existing list of colours banned by the Co-op:E123 Amaranth, E128 Red 2G, E154 Brown FK, E155 Brown HT, E133 Brilliant Blue FCF, E180 Litholrubine, E173 Aluminium, E174 Silver and E175 GoldThis article has been published with permission in full from the press release on the Co-op Website.