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A Surveillance study on the presence and safety of different types of food additive in children’s foods available in the markets

Selar Sh. Izzat1
1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Science Education, School of Science,  University of Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq 

Original: 25 July 2016, Revised: 5 October 2016, Accepted: 16 October 2016, Published online: 20 March 2017



Health risk of food additives is under debates throughout the world. Several studies
confirmed harmful effects and health problems associated with their consumption, but no
data was published about this subject in Kurdistan and no awareness has been taken
regarding this issue in the region. For this purpose 300 commercial food items consumed
by children were collected from the markets and their labels analyzed for additive
contents. As a result, 286 items (95.3%) found to contain additives, and only 14 (4.6%)
were free from additive. The 286 items contained 120 different types of food additives
and in 38 items (13.2%) the numbers and types of additives were not identified. From the
120 additive, 75 (62.5%) were found harmful, but no adverse effect found for 45 food
additives (37.5%). The adverse health effects; 28 (23.3%) recorded as carcinogenic, 17
of them (14.4%) affected digestive as well as Respiratory Systems, and 15 of them
(12.5%) were related to integumentary System problems. The most common additives
found were color (27), followed by thickeners (25), and preservatives (12).
The higher percentage of adverse effects for each of the color, thickener and acidity
regulator were cancer-causing effects, however preservatives mostly affected the
respiratory system. The more adverse health effects of additives related to color
additives, and the higher percentage of color additive found in confectionery food items,
so confectionery products were the more harmful food categories that children should
avoid. Based on the results of this study, the quality of some food products meant for
local markets is unsatisfactory. It needs to enforce and implement regulations on the
manufacturers of products consumed by children to ensure the provision of excellent
quality of products for the low-income population of the country.

Key Words:
Food color,


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