It can be sometimes difficult to understand what ingredients are in the packaged foods we buy.

So, we’ve tried to list out some ingredients that you should definitely watch out for:


These are often used to make poor quality foods look appealing.

The Southampton Six Azo Dyes have links to health problems in small children and in the EU, these have a voluntary removal from all children’s foods. If any food for children contains them, legally in the EU, they must display a warning statement about potential effects on children’s behaviour.

In particular:
Sunset Yellow (E110)
Quinoline Yellow (E104)
Carmoisine (E122)
Allura Red (E129)
Tartrazine (E102)
Ponceau 4R (E124)


These are known to have a negative impact on health and have been linked to hyperactivity in children when they are combined with colouring.

In particular:
Sodium Benzoate (E211)
Sulphur Dioxide (E220)

Flavour enhancers & flavourings

Flavourings disguise the flavour of real food.

Flavour enhancers are banned under regulation for children under 3 in the EU, although still found in many savoury snacks.
Look for ingredients that add flavour such as herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables.

In particular:
Monosodium Glutamate (E621)

Artificial sweeteners

These are banned in foods for children under the age of 3 in the EU, but are found in all sorts of food items, often those marked as low sugar.

In particular:
Sodium Saccharin
Acesulfame K

Starches or thickeners

These are unnecessary cheap ingredients used to bulk out foods. We need to choose foods without them.

In particular:
Modified maize starch



Editorial Team

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