Additives to Avoid



The following is a list of common  food additives that have negative health and/or behavioural effects.  There are a number of food additives that are not on the list but they are not as common and have less severe reactions.

Colours: 102, E107, 110,122-129, 132, 133, 142,150, 151, 155, 160b

Preservatives: 200, 210-213, 220, 221-227, 228, 249-252, 280-283

Antioxidants: 310-312, 319-321

Emulsifiers: 407, 413, 416, 421,

Anti-caking agent: 553

Flavour Enhancers:621, 622, 627, E634, 635

Miscellaneous Additives: E905, 925, 926, 1201, 1520

Artificial Sweeteners: 950, 951, E951, 952, 954

Common foods that the additives to avoid are found in include lollies, soft drink, fruit juice, cordial, ice cream, chocolate, bread and margarine.

Note: Additives are also used in other products such as toothpaste and cosmetics but this website is discussing only the effect of additives in food 

Number & Name Potential Effect When in Food Foods found in
102: Tartrazine  

Hyperactivity, thyroid tumours, aggression, headache, migraine, nettle rash, hay fever, asthma, tingling of the mouth, insomnia, confusion, itching, blurred vision, swelling of lips and tongue, cancer


Sweet corn, soft drink, marzipan, canned peas, cheese crackers, mint sauce, fruit juice cordial, jam, pickles, cereal, packaged soup, lollies, snack food
E107: Yellow 2G  

Asthma, skin rashes, cancer, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people, hyperactivity


Soft drinks
110: Sunset Yellow FCF  

Allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people, asthma, hyperactivity, hives cancer, hay fever, abdominal pain


Fruit juice cordial, hot chocolate mix, cereal, marzipan, ice cream, packet soup, canned fish, lollies, dry drink powders, snack food, carbonated beverages
122: Azorubine  

Cancer, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people, asthma, hyperactivity


Confectionery, marzipan, brown sauce, prepacked swiss roll, jelly crystals

Cancer, asthma, hyperactivity, nettle rash, hay fever, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people, malignant tumours, teratogen



Packet cake mix, packet trifle mix, jelly crystals, soft drink, blackcurrant products, cereal


124: Ponceau 4R  

Allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people and asthmatics, hyperactivity, hay fever, urticaria, cancer



Packet trifle mix, jelly crystals, packet cake mix, dessert topping, biscuits, canned strawberries


127: Erythrosine  

Cancer, breast cancer, hyperactivity, skin rash, hyperthyroidism, gene damage, asthma, light sensitivity, learning difficulties, benign tumours, thyroid tumours


Sweets, canned red cherries, snack food, scotch eggs, canned fruit cocktail, packet trifle mix, maraschino cherries
128: Red 2G  

Cancer, asthma, skin rashes, anaemia, gene damage, hyperactivity, teratogen


Meat products
129: Allura Red  

Cancer and tumours in mice, hyperactivity, hay fever, asthma, urticaria, allergic reactions in chemical-sensitive people


Packet cake mix, packet trifle mix, jelly crystals, cereal, chocolate biscuits, sweets, condiments
132: Indigotine  

Asthma, hyperactivity, cancer, allergic reactions in chemical-sensitive people


Biscuits, lollies, ice cream, baked goods, sweets, confectionery
133: Brilliant Blue FCF  

Cancer, malignant tumours, allergic reactions in chemical-sensitive people, asthma, hyperactivity


Soft drink, canned processed peas, dairy products, gelatine, desserts, cereal, sweets
142: Food Green S Hyperactivity, asthma, skin rashes  

Canned peas, mint jelly, packet bread-crumbs, packet cheesecake mix


150: Caramel  

Hyperactivity, gastrointestinal symptoms, kidney, liver and caecum enlargement in rats


Biscuits, packet soup, beer, soft drink, whisky, pickled onions
151: Brilliant Black BN  

Asthma, hyperactivity, hay fever, cancer


Blackcurrant cake mix, brown sauce
155: Brown HT  

Allergic reactions in asthmatics and aspirin sensitive people, hyperactivity, cancer


Chocolate cake mix, chocolate biscuits
160b: Annatto Extracts  

Asthma, hyperactivity, urticaria, allergies, possibly cancer


Margarine, butter, cheese, smoked fish, low fat spread
200: Sorbic Acid Allergic reactions in chemical-sensitive people, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity  

Bread, cheese, soft drink, cheese spread, chicken, pickled onions


210: Benzoic Acid  

Asthma, hyperactivity, eye & skin irritation, allergic reactions in chemical-sensitive people


Brewed soft drink, ice cream, cider, chewing gum, fruit juice, fruit drinks, margarine, liquid essences, cordial, flavoured syrup and topping
211:  Sodium Benzoate  

Liver, kidney and neurotoxicity, asthma, gastric burning, hyperactivity, allergic reactions in aspirin and chemical-sensitive people


Orange soft drink, relish, milk and meat products, baked goods, lollies


212: Potassium benzoate  

Asthma, skin irritation, nettle rash, allergic reactions in aspirin and chemical-sensitive people


See 210: Benzoic acid
213: Calcium Benzoate  

See 212: Potassium benzoate


See 210: Benzoic acid
220: Sulphur Dioxide  

Asthma, hyperactivity, headache, backache, gastric irritation, liver toxicity, destroys vitamin A in food, bronchitis, nausea


Dried fruit, beer, fruit juice, gelatine, wine, soft drink, cordial jam, dairy, products, potato products, soup
221-227: Sodium Sulphite, Sodium Bisulphite, Sodium Metabisulphite, Potassium Metabisulphite, Calcium, Sulphite, Calcium Hydrogen Sulphite  

Asthma, anaphylaxis, nettle rash, swelling, diarrhoea, gastric irritation, nausea, hyperactivity, destroys vitamin B contents in foods


Orange juice, uncooked prawns and shrimps, see also 220: Sulphur Dioxide
228: Potassium Bisulphite  

Liver and kidney irritation, gastric irritation, nausea, diarrhoea, skin rash, hyperactivity, asthma


See 220: Sulphur Dioxide
249-252 : Potassium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrite, sodium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrate  

Asthma, cancer, headache, destroys red blood cells, breathing difficulties, dizziness, vomiting



Cured meats, pressed and non-pressed corned meat, pickled meat, salted meat, manufactured meat, meat spread, bacon, sausages


280: Propionic Acid  

Behavioural changes, migraines, gastrointestinal disturbance, skin irritation


Bread and other flour products, processed cheese
281: Sodium Propionate  

Migraine, allergic reactions


Bread and other flout products
282: Calcium Propionate  

Hyperactivity, learning difficulties, aggression, fatigue, migraine


Bread and other flour products, poultry stuffing
283: Potassium Propionate  



Bread and other flour products
310: Propyl Gallate  

Asthma, cancer, liver damage, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people


Dairy blend, salad oil, edible fats and oils, reduced fat spread, chewing gum, margarine
311- :312Octyl Gallate, Dodecyl Gallate Asthma, gastric and skin irritation, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people  

Dairy blend, edible fats and oils, reduced fat spread, margarine, dripping, salad oil


319: t-Butylhydroquinone Cancer, birth defects, allergic contact dermatitis  

Dairy blend, salad oil, edible fats and oils, reduced fat spread, margarine


320: Butylated Hydroxyanisole  

Asthma, cancer, skin blistering, dermatitis, hyperactivity, extreme weakness, fatigue


Instant mashed potato, margarine, chewing gum, ice cream, edible oils
321: Butylated Hydroxytoluene  

Asthma, cancer, skin and eye irritation, contact dermatitis, hyperactivity, allergic reactions in aspirin-sensitive people


Chewing gum, fish products, fats and oils, potato flakes, breakfast cereals, pork sausages
407: Carrageenan  

Asthma, skin rashes, colon ulcers, cancer 9when degraded), do not give to infants and young children


Ice cream, dessert mix, lollies, pastries, biscuits, thickened cream, chocolate milk and other products
413: Tragacanth Gum  

Asthma, skin rashes, hay fever, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal diseases, contact dermatitis


Lollies, fruit juice cordial, fruit jelly, chutney salad dressing
416: Karaya Gum  

Asthma, gastrointestinal illnesses, hay fever, dermatitis



ice cream, baked goods, gum-drops, lemon custard


421: Mannitol  

Hyperactivity, nausea, vomiting diarrhoea, kidney dysfunction, on the National Institutes of Health hazards list


Chewing gum, jam, jellies, lollies, mints, frosting, carbohydrate modified foods
553: Talc  

Cancers (stomach and ovarian), respiratory problems



Chocolate, lollies, polished rice, chewing gum


621: Monosodium L-Glutmamate

Asthma, hyperactivity, depression, irritability, mood changes, chest pain, nausea, numbness, migraine, headache, infertility, convulsions, abdominal discomfort, muscle spasms


Packet soup, soy sauce, flavoured noodles, meats, malt extract, quick soup, pickles, sauce, gelatine, maltodextrin, flavoured potato chips, corn chips and snacks
622: Monopotassium L-Glutamate  

Problems in people with poor kidney function, headache, asthma, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps


Meat, low-sodium salt substitute
627:  Disodium Guanylate  

Asthmatics and aspirin-sensitive people should avoid, gout, hyperactivity, prohibited in or on foods intended for infants



Foods with added artificial flavouring


E634: Calcium 5'-Ribonucleotides  

Asthma, hyperactivity, itchy skin rashes up to 30hrs after eating


Flavoured chips, instant noodles, party pies
635: Disodium 5'-Ribonucleotides  

Asthma, hyperactivity, itchy skin rashes up to 30 hrs after eating


Flavoured chips, instant noodles, party pies
E905: Microcrystalline Wax  

Inhibits absorption of fats and vitamins A, D, and E, eczema and skin irritations in chemical-sensitive people, laxative, carcinogenic


Lollies, chewing gum, dried fruit, cake decoration, used in processing of yeast, castings for sausages and manufactured meats
925: Chlorine  

Reproductive problems, brain damage, destroys vitamin E, toxic to skin and lungs, carcinogenic, hyperactivity


Whitening of flour, processed fish, vegetables and fruit (usage in flour is only premitted in Australia)
926: Chlorine Dioxide  

Bronchitis, pulmonary oedema, reproductive disorders, respiratory and developmental toxicity, destroys vitamin E, hyperactivity


Cereal flours (usage only permitted in Australia)
950: Acesulphame Potassium  

May increase levels of cholesterol in blood, caused cancer and tumours in animals



Artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, soft drink, canned fruit, baked goods


951 & E951: Aspartame  

Cancer, asthma, MS-like symptoms, heachache, hyperactivity, fatigue, anxiety, dizziness, migraine, memory loss, depression, insomnia, irritability, impotence, epilepsy, blindness, diabetes, neuralgia, seizures, brain damage, gastrointestinal upsets


Artificial sweeteners, diet drinks, low-joule foods, low-joule chewing gum, lollies, brewed soft drinks, anything which is sugar free or without added sugar, in over 5,000 products
952: Cyclamic Acid  

Should be avoided by those with heart, circulation or liver problems, causes bladder cancer in rats, various skin conditions, migraine
Banned in the UK and USA


Artificially sweetened canned fruit, chewing gum, brewed soft drinks, low-joule foods
954: Saccharin's  

Headache, cancer, shrunken testicles, lowered testosterone levels, mutagen


Artificial sweeteners, chewing gum, brewed soft drink, dietetic food
1201:  Polyvinylpyrrolidone  

Cancer, lung and kidney damage, gas, faecal impaction, skin allergies, liver toxicity


Vinegar, beer and wine manufacture, artificial sweetener
1520: Propylene Glycol  

Kidney damage, liver abnormalities, contact dermatitis, skin rashes, neurotoxicity, CNS depression, dry skin, on National Institutes of Health hazards list


Baked goods, ice cream emulsifiers, lollies, icing, chocolate products, sweetened coconut, beverages, toppings