Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
World 
UK 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Sunday, 26 December, 1999, 16:05 GMT
Soft drink turned toddler 'yellow'

Glan Clwyd Hospital A four-year-old girl was taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital after she turned yellow


The makers of one of Britain's top-selling soft drinks admitted too much of it could send kids yellow after warnings from a north Wales doctor.

Drink manufacturers American conglomerate Procter and Gamble were responding to reports from a paediatrician that a four-year-old he saw was a "yellowy colour" after drinking too much Sunny Delight.

Dr Duncan Cameron, from Glan Clywd hospital near Rhyl had the child brought to him after her hands and face turned bright orange and yellow.

Carrot juice

The child had been drinking 1.5 litres of the popular drink a day and analysis revealed that her condition was caused by beta carotene, an additive which boosts the drinks orange colour and vitamin A content.

But a spokeswoman for Procter and Gamble, which produces mainly household products, said the child in question was drinking "too much" and would have suffered the same effects with carrot juice.

However, she said there were no safety risks and those affected would return to a normal colour in a few weeks.

Carotene is produced by plants such as carrots and pumpkins giving them a golden tone.

Every 100ml of Sunny Delight contains a small quantity - 120 microgrammes - of Beta carotene, about 15% of the recommended daily intake for an adult.

Medical journals

A child's body would not be able to cope with the levels in 1.5 litres of the drink, which would represent more than twice the daily adult intake and the pigment would be deposited in the skin and other organs.

Dr Cameron intended to warn other doctors with letters to medical journals.

The revelation comes as the company's current television advertisement for the product shows two white snowmen turning yellow after raiding a fridge for Sunny Delight.

A spokesperson for Sunny Delight, which despite only launching in the spring of last year sells more than 136 million a year, said the doctor had not contacted them directly.

Harmless

She said: "The child apparently drank 1.5 litres per day. That would be more than the total daily fluid intake of a child of that age and you would expect a mix of different drinks, not just one type.

"This is excessive consumption and consumption on that scale would lead to a yellowing of the skin because of the beta carotene, in the same way as drinking too much carrot juice or orange juice would.

"The tanning tablets we use before going on holiday is beta carotene and works in much the same way.

"The condition is harmless, there is no health risk and skin will return to normal in a few weeks."

However, parents may be concerned about another reported side effect of beta carotene - upset stomachs with flatulence.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories