(2) what assessment she has made of the initial findings of research by the University of Southampton commissioned for the Food Standards Agency on children's food additives; when she expects the report to be published in full; and if she will make a statement;
(3) what recent assessment she has made of the levels of public trust in food safety; and if she will make a statement;
(4) when she last met the Food Standards Agency to discuss additives to children's food; and if she will publish the minutes of the meeting;
(5) what recent discussions she has held with Ministers of other EU states on food additives.
No recent discussions have been held with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on additives in children's food, nor have there been any meetings with the Hyperactive Children's Support Group.
The findings of the research by Southampton University on food additives and children's behaviour are currently undergoing a process of peer review by experts from one of the Government's independent advisory committees (the Committee on Toxicology of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment) and as part of the process of publication in a scientific journal. This peer review process ensures that the validity of the research is confirmed. The full technical report from the study is currently being finalised and will be published after the scientific papers are published in a scientific journal. Prior release of the results of the research would jeopardise the publication of the scientific papers.
There have been no discussions with other Ministers from European Union member states on food additives; however, discussions between EU member states are currently on-going concerning revisions to the harmonised food additive legislative framework. The European Food Safety Authority has commenced a review of the safety of all food additives, starting with colours, and the FSA will inform the European Commission when the Southampton University research is published so the results can be considered as part of the EU review.
An assessment of the levels of public trust in food safety is made annually, using the FSA's Consumer Attitudes Survey which is published on their website at:
From this survey the proportion of UK adults saying they are concerned about food safety remained constant between 2000 and 2005.