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Wednesday, October 6, 1999 Published at 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK


Iceland puts freeze on additives

The shop has banned artificial colours and flavours but not preservatives

Frozen food chain Iceland has banned artificial colours and flavours from its own-label products.

It also said it will remove preservatives "where it is safe".

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw: "The campaign leads the supermarket war away from price towards food safety"
The store said that the move was in response to consumer concerns, with a recent survey showing that 20% of people worried about allergic reactions to additives in food.

One in three parents said artificial additives was the most significant food quality issue.

Additives, such as tartrazine or E102, have been linked to hyperactivity in children, as well as conditions such as migraines, eczema and asthma.

The BBC's Nicola Carslaw: "Critics will say this is a marketing ploy"
The initiative was welcomed by Sally Bunday, founder of the Hyper Active Children's Support Group (HACSG), who said: "There is increasing evidence that food can affect behaviour and there is no doubt some children are suffering as a result of their diet.

"I am sure that many parents will be delighted that Iceland is now offering them the choice of buying natural foods."

Meat quality 'guarantee'

The Iceland research of 2,000 people, carried out by Mintel, also indicated that interest in organic foods was much higher than current purchasing levels suggested.

Nnearly a third of people said they would buy more organic food if it was cheaper.

Seven out of 10 shoppers said they lacked confidence in the meat they bought, with the biggest concern being the source and quality of cheaper meat products and pre-prepared foods.

One in 3 shoppers said they were left baffled by labelling, with 44% saying all ingredients should be listed on food labels, and 59% that labels should be easier to understand.

Six out of 10 parents were concerned about the levels of salt in food.

Range of initiatives

Iceland said it would guarantee that only "identifiable quality" cuts of meat will be used in its own-brand food and all livestock will be fed on a vegetarian diet.

It said it would bring in clearer and more honest labelling, such as declaring the weight without water or water-glaze of frozen chicken.

The store has also launched a wider range of organic products at "minimal or no extra" cost.

And it aims to reduce salt in its own-label products by 10% over the next 12 months.

Iceland removed GM ingredients from its own-range food in May 1998.

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