SafeFood Home

This article is available in .PDF format here 86 Kb

Additives to Avoid

The following additives may cause health problems such as allergies, asthma, hyperactivity, birth defects and cancer.

  • Ill effects are linked to many of these additives in human trials and animal tests.
  • Additives are not required to be tested in real-life cocktails in which we eat them.
  • Doses allowed do not take into account a child's greater intake for their body weight.
  • Research on addictive aspartame and MSG associates them with potential brain damage and effects ranging from mild and transitory to debilitating or life-threatening.

102 tartrazine
104 quinoline yellow
110 sunset yellow
122 azorubine, carmoisine
123 amaranth
124 ponceau, brilliant scarlet
127 erythrosine
129 allura red
132 indigotine, indigo carmine
133 brilliant blue
142 green S, food green, acid brilliant green
151 brilliant black
155 brown, chocolate brown
160b annatto, bixin, norbixin
173 aluminium


310-312 all gallates
319 TBHQ
320 butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
321 butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)


Approx 3000 permitted, untested and unregulated. Artificial and natural are both suspect. Some may contain MSG (621) or free glutamate.
'…flavouring' implies artificial, 'flavoured with …' implies natural.

Flavour enhancers
620-625 glutamic acid and all glutamates, incl.
621 monosodium glutamate (MSG) which may be disguised as hydrolysed protein, yeast extract, sodium or calcium caseinate. See 
627 disodium guanylate
631 disodium inosinate
635 ribonucleotides


200-203 sorbic acid, potassium & calcium sorbates
210-213 benzoic acid, sodium, potassium & calcium benzoates
220-228 sulphur dioxide, all sulphites, bisulphites, metabisulphites
249-252 all nitrates & nitrites
280-283 propionic acid, sodium, potassium & calcium propionates


Artificial sweeteners
950 acesulphame potassium
951 aspartame
952 sodium or calcium cyclamate
954 saccharin
955 sucralose
961 neotame


Updated October 2007

For more information also see: the book "The Chemical Maze" by Bill Statham,, and www.holisticmed/aspartame on aspartame, (for a list of permitted additives), additive info:

Safe Food Campaign Inc
PO Box 9206
Wellington 6141
Ph (04) 476 8607

© Safefood Campaign