A report from the European Food Safety Agency into

the health risks posed by

artificial food additives

may be delayed.

EFSA is evaluating University of Southampton research commissioned by the UK's FSA, which linked seven colours and a preservative with hyperactivity and ill health in children.

EFSA was expected to give its opinion on the study to the EC by the end of February. However, this week a spokesman confirmed the report would probably appear "a few weeks later than planned" because it had taken longer than anticipated to put together the working group producing the report.

The University of Southampton results, officially published in September 2007 but revealed five months earlier by The Grocer, sparked a media furore, with consumer groups calling on the government to ban the additives.