An additive is a substance that is not normally consumed as a food in itself or as an ingredient of food, but is added to the food for technological purposes. 26 categories of additives are registered in the positive list of the EFSA after being subjected to a safety assessment by the same Agency. The test must demonstrate that there are no health hazards for the consumers and no misleading of consumers about the use of an additive.

Each additive approved is inserted in the positive list with an E number. Very often the test to decide if an additive is dangerous for consumers is organized by the industry which produces the same additive, obviously this is not independent research.

Currently, EFSA does very little research and uses dossiers of studies completed or sponsored by the same company which is applying for the authorization of a particular additive. In addition, the whole dossier of the research is kept secret. The tests are done on animals and one additive at a time and not a mix of additives together as each consumer is ingesting every day.

EFSA establishes the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for each substance expressed in mg per Kg of body weight per day. Art.6 of the EU Regulation N 1333|2008 states: “A food additive can be included in the Community list if it does not pose a safety concern to the health of the consumer at the level of use proposed.” It means that if we eat more of that same additive in other food in the same day we can have health problems. How does the industry communicate this to the consumers? The main problem is that EFSA calculates the ADI of an additive for each food product but consumers can eat the same additive in different foods without knowing it. In this way they will probably exceed the ADI for that additive every day. In addition, consumers will mix several different additives and no official research exists on the consequences of this mix for human health, which would be very difficult to calculate as there are so many different additives.

The English Soil Association in 2006 presented research done during three years on the health damage to on human beings for the combination of four additives E 133, E 621, E104 and E951. This additives mix has created neurotoxic effects and consequent health problems on the tested animals. The University of Sussex, through scientific and reputable research, calculates that an average consumer eats six or seven kilos of additives each year. The followings additives are considered very dangerous for consumer health according to several research projects, but there are many other really unsafe additives which are included in the positive list registered by EFSA.

E621 MSG

Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancing agent which is very often used on food such as soups, chips, low calorie products, Chinese dishes and many others. It gives an irresistible taste and the undisciplined will continue eating the food which contain MSG, thus for instance the drive to finish a whole packet of chips. Following the research of Dr Russel Blaylock (, an American neurosurgeon and nutritionist, MSG could cause brain cell death, enlarge tumors and cancers and much other serious health damage. He has published a book called “Excitotoxins – The taste that kills” concerning the dangers of MSG and aspartame, referring to 450 scientific studies that demonstrate his theory. Dr. Blaylock states: “Hundreds of millions of infants and young children are at great risk and their parents are not even aware of it. It is my opinion, after reviewing an enormous amount of medical and research literature, that MSG, aspartame and other excitotoxin additives poise an enormous hazard to our health and to the developing and normal functioning brain. To continue to add enormous amounts of excitotoxins to our food is unconscionable and will lead to suffering and ruined lives for generations to come.

E951 Aspartame

Aspartame is one of the most dangerous additives, an intense sweetener with a sweetness approximately 200 times that of sucrose, it is used in several low calorie foods and beverages. According to researchers and physicians the following illnesses can be consequences of aspartame ingestion: headache, irritability, tachycardia, nausea, anxiety, hearing loss, brain tumor, Alzheimer and many others. Many reputable research studies concerning aspartame have been published such as the studies of the Italian doctor Morando Soffritti concerning cancer caused by aspartame in rats. In 2005 the European Commission was informed of the studies by Soffritti and asked to EFSA to urgently assess the new studies and to eliminate it from the Community list just in case. EFSA adopted an opinion in 2006 which concluded that there is no reason to further review the previous scientific opinion on the safety of aspartame. Nothing has changed, aspartame is big business for the industries. The opinion of many doctors concerning the use of aspartame and its dangers for human health are published here.

Consumers to exceed the ADI of additive probably need only eat several diet products containing aspartame a day, very easy to do for a consumer following a diet and try, in good faith, to reduce calories intake in this way.

E950 Acesulfame

Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than sugar and it is used in chewing gum, cakes, drinks and many other products. It causes cancers, high cholesterol, and leukemia. EFSA reevaluated this additive in 2000 but nothing has changed, it is still on the Community list.


In the EU Regulation on food additives n. 1333/2008, colors serve the following purpose: “Restoring the original appearance of food of which the color has been affected by processing, storage, packaging and distribution, whereby visual acceptability may have been impaired; making food more visually appealing.

We can clearly understand how unnecessary and misleading colorants are for the consumers, because without colors the same food would not be acceptable. All this would not be so surprising if it did not create any health problems for consumers but this is not the case. E102 yellow color, used for instance to give color to noodles, is considered very dangerous. Researchers find the following side effects: anxiety attacks, itching, rhinitis, urticaria, general weakness, migraine, clinical depression, blurred vision, palpitations, feelings of suffocation, pruritus, purple skin patches and sleep disturbance. Other colors considered very dangerous for human health are: E104, E110 orange, E120 red, E122, E123 in USA but legally used in Europe, E127 red, forbidden in Norway and in USA, E131 blue, forbidden in Australia. All those colors are considered carcinogenic and extremely toxic.

In 2019, SAFE launched a petition with ECOS and Agir pour l’Environnement to support the French ban on the white food colourant E171 (titanium dioxide in food). This substance found in creams, cosmetics and white candies is the source of many hazards, including cancer of the digestive system.

Additives & children

There is not a specific calculation of the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for children, and European children ingest 100 additives per day. There are several studies which demonstrate a clear connection between additives and children`s hyperactivity. Several experiments in school in UK, Australia and Switzerland student’s ingestion of additives were eliminated for several weeks, both in school as well at home (Video). The incredible result was that hyperactive children were behaving normally (Link1, Link2).

Based on research organized by Southampton University, concerning the effects of certain colors on children`s behavior, EU law states that all food which includes one of those colors E102, E104, E110, E122, E124 and E129 should add on the label the following sentence: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” Currently, under EU law synthetic colorings are banned from food and drinks targeted specifically at children under 36 months. How is it that for children older than 36 months the same colors are not considered dangerous?