Irn Bru will not change colour, says maker AG Barr

Irn Bru bottles
Sunset Yellow is a key additive in Irn Bru's colour

Irn Bru's distinctive colour will not be affected by European Commission proposals to limit a key additive, its makers have said.

European legislators were considering plans to reduce the acceptable daily intake of Sunset Yellow (E110), which is used in the fizzy drink.

It follows a review of the amount of E110 to which children are exposed.

But makers AG Barr said Irn Bru's secret recipe would not be affected by the proposals.

Europe's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health considered a range of options, which included reducing the current maximum permitted level of 50mg of Sunset Yellow per litre of flavoured drinks to as little as 10mg.

But on Friday it voted to reduce the level to 20mg - the same amount as AG Barr already uses in Irn Bru.

The vote followed a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which found that exposure to the additive could be too high, particularly among UK children.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who wrote earlier this month to European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy John Dalli warning that reducing the additive level to 10mg could have a negative impact on the "iconic" drink, welcomed the vote.

'Iconic' brand

He said: "Thank goodness this problem has been Irn-ed out.

"It is a victory for our other national drink - I'm delighted that common sense has prevailed, and that Europe's decision protects this iconic Scottish brand.

"I congratulate all involved in securing this positive outcome - folk at home and abroad who love their Irn Bru will be toasting this success with a glass of the stuff made from girders."

Earlier, Barr had moved to reassure its drinkers that it was ready to deal with any outcome.

In a statement, the company said: "We are grateful for the support of the first minister and the Food Standards Agency Scotland regarding the proposed reduction of the maximum permitted limit of three food colourings, which may affect our use of the colour Sunset Yellow in Irn Bru.

"AG Barr has been fully engaged in this issue and the business is well prepared for the various outcomes of the review."

It added: "Our products will always comply with all UK and EU regulations and we can reassure our drinkers that any changes that result will not affect the distinctive colour of Irn Bru - or have any impact on the famously secret Irn Bru recipe."

The European Commission said the standing committee's decision could be adopted by the end of the year.