It would be nice to think that the food we have access to on the supermarket shelves was safe but the truth is there are hundreds of food additives added to the everyday foods we eat! These food additives have been deemed safe by regulatory bodies in Australia but some of them are banned overseas, proving we cannot be assured of their safety.


Food additives include preservatives, colours and flavours and are often listed as numbers on food labels. The can cause obvious side effects such as asthma and hyperactivity in some children and no obvious effects in others.


As parents, it is our job to be aware of the foods our children are eating and minimize their intake of additives. Making more food from scratch is the best thing you can do to reduce your family’s intake of these potentially harmful chemicals. Here is a list of the top 10 additives to avoid in kids, keep a look out for these numbers and avoid them all together.

reading food labels


102 Tartrazine– yellow-orange food colouring, 

Found in –  lollies, soft drinks, confectionary, yoghurt, jam, chewing gum, icecream and jelly.

Can cause – aggressive behaviour, learning and concentration difficulties,  behavioral problems, depression, headaches, insomnia, asthma, suspected Musco-skeletal and neurotoxicity.


110 Sunset Yellow, food colouring

Found in –  icecream, jam, sweets, beverages and soups.

Can cause – behavioral problems, hyperactivity, asthma, rhinitis, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,


122   Red food colouring

Found in –  jam, jelly, lollies and processed foods.

Can cause – tantrums, hyperactivity, asthma, can cause allergic reactions.


123   bluish red food colouring

Found in –  jam, fruit juice, icecream, lollies, confectionary and beverages

Can cause – hyperactivity, skin rash, GI problems, asthma, liver and kidney problems.

food colouring


127 Cherry pink to red food colouring

Found in –  canned fruit, biscuits, glace cherries, toothpaste

Can cause – learning difficulties, hyperactivity, asthma, may affect thyroid activity and a known xenooestrogen (disturbs hormone balance)


320 Butylated hydroxyanisole (antioxidant)

Found in –  butter/ oil blends, edible oils (may not be listed on packaging), milk powder, dried instant mashed potato.

Can cause – Suspected respiratory, endocrine, skin, liver, immune and neurotoxicity, headaches, asthma, insomnia, fatigue, depression.


321   Butylated hydroxytoluene (antioxidant)

Found in –  edible oils (may not be listed on packaging), chewing gum, bubble gum.

Can cause – dermatitis, fatigue, aggressive behaviour, asthma, Suspected respiratory, liver, skin, kidney, immune and neuro toxicity, migraine, learning difficulties




951 & 962 – Aspartame (sweetener)

Found in –  chewing gum, sugar free foods, soft drink, diet foods and drinks, confectionary.

Can cause –  Over 90 effects reported including asthma, seizures, memory loss, mood changes, weight gain, dizziness, headaches, multiple sclerosis, breathing difficulties, aggression, depression, .


954 Saccharin (sweetener)

Found in –  sauces and toppings, chutneys, jams, soft drinks, jelly, tabletop sweeteners, fruit and vegetable juices, soups.

Can cause – allergic reactions, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity and insomnia


These are just some of the dangerous chemical additives found in the food we eat! Read food labels, avoid as many products containing numbers as ingredients as you can.

The Chemical Maze is a fabulous resource to help you navigate the confusing world of food additives .


If you want to move away from additive laden processed foods towards more wholefoods for your family download my free ebook here 🙂



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