The food industry has hit out at FSA plans to ban artificial colours in all foods by 2009 and also accused the agency of undermining the consultation on nutrition labelling.

The FDF said FSA proposals for a voluntary ban on artificial additives by 2009 were "bizarre" and "at odds with the rest of Europe". "The FSA has made its proposals on the back of a very narrow set of behavioural issues against the backdrop of unbelievable work by retailers and manufacturers on reformulation," said Julian Hunt, the FDF's director of communications.

The FSA will lobby the EU for a total ban despite the EFSA finding little evidence linking additives to adverse effect on kids' behaviour. A Southampton University study had previously linked six colourings to hyperactivity in children.

The FDF said the proposal also threw up practical problems. "The voluntary ban could not apply to imports," said Hunt.

A row is also brewing between the two bodies over what the FDF claims is "a breach by the FSA of the government's better regulation principles". The FSA used this week's board meeting to firm up plans to promote traffic-light front-of-pack labels a month ahead of the end of the consultation.

In a letter to the FSA, FDF director general Melanie Leech said: "The decision to use this week's meeting to seek agreement on a negotiating position for part of the regulation appears premature and such a move is clearly in danger of undermining the formal consultation now under way."