Petition to remove annatto 160b from Streets ice creams

Hi everyone, I've just posted this petition. Please sign it to help our children (and adults)


Unilever Australasia:

Hundreds of reports show food colouring Annatto 160b is harmful to children - urgently remove from all Streets ice cream variations

Do you know what caused the bruises on this poor kid’s head? Annatto 160b, a natural food colouring in many Streets ice cream products.


Many food companies have already removed Annatto 160b, yet Unilever still continues to use the colouring in popular Streets ice cream brands. A safe alternative exists: natural beta carotene 160a is a food colour found in many fruit and vegetables and is a precursor to Vitamin A. Please use that.

Annatto 160b is the only natural colour that can affect some children and adults even worse than artificial colours. It has also been associated with rare allergic reactions.

Listen to reports

My 7yo son headbangs and headbutts with annatto. Actually he generally becomes a right little monster with it.  I avoid it like the plague. I will not allow annatto under any circumstances after the last episode with it - Alice.

Annatto made him punch himself repeatedly in the head with a closed fist and also bang his head against the wall - Sarah

His tantrums at school which had involved kicking the teacher and often spitting and having to be carried to the office have stopped (now that he is not eating annatto) - Rhonda.

I react to annatto with insomnia, anxiousness, a shaky sensation, I "snap" easily and it does not take much to make me get angry. My son has difficulty falling asleep, disturbed night sleeps, silly behaviour and sometimes aggressive. My daughter has disturbed sleep - Rose [946]

The Food Intolerance Network with over 10,000 families has logged many hundreds of complaints about natural colour annatto 160b, including tantrums and head banging in young children; headaches, migraines, irritability, insomnia, hives and irritable bowel symptoms in adults and children.


Listen to the science

See scientific studies showing reactions to annatto 160b

Our kids deserve to have this nasty additive replaced with safer alternatives

From about 12 months of age, each time my son ate annatto he would develop spots, rashes and blotches on his face and around his mouth and at the same time, he also would bang his head in frustration on the floor. It was usually as part of a tantrum, he would drop to the floor and bang his head. He had a permanent bruise in the middle of his forehead for several months - reader.

I first noticed the annatto/IBS connection (bad smelling gas, diarrhea, loose stools) with my 3 year old son specifically with processed cheese singles. If I keep him away from those and other annatto coloured products we don't have a problem -  from story [972]

After eating annatto coloured products every day my 12 year old son started banging his head against a brick wall for about half an hour. When he stopped he told us that he had a headache so bad that banging his head seemed to be the only way to make it feel better. - from story [383]

My 16 year old son reacts to annatto with tears, agitation and aggression. Without the information on your website I am certain he would have been diagnosed with serious mental health issues by now - from story [1333]

Annatto 160b causes a severe reaction in our 7 yo daughter including migraine, loss of fine motor control, head banging, violence and aggression, screaming and yelling, loss of rational thought and temporary memory loss, beginning 24 hours after ingestion and gradually diminishing over two weeks - from story [611]

For years I just lived with constant diarrhea then I started getting severe abdominal pain (like nothing I had before) and then a few months later I started getting extremely bloated. It took me a LONG time to pinpoint Annatto as the cause of my problems - reader.



2,412 people have supported the petition to date. Many have made moving comments about the effects of annatto 160b on themselves, their children and their family. You can see a summary of their responses to date.


4,730 people have signed the petition to date and Streets have responded today from the Consumer Relations Department:

We take the health and safety of our consumers very seriously and all of our products meet stringent safety requirements as defined by Australian and New Zealand laws and regulations. Annatto is a natural food colouring ingredient that is used in very small amounts in a range of our ice cream products. The ingredient has been approved for use under the Food Standards Code and is a commonly used ingredient in food and beverage products in Australia and around the world.

They are clearly not listening. How many people will it take? Please sign if you haven't yet.

Here is our response

Your corporate response is very disappointing. Manifestly you are not taking ‘very seriously’ the complaints of your customers if you ignore 5,000 of them who bother to tell you there is a real problem. The government safety assessment of annatto 160b ignores all the symptoms that people are reporting yet still approved the additive. To me this suggests a fault with the assessment process, not that consumers are wrong. Unilever Australasia and Streets are missing a commercial opportunity here by avoiding this issue, so the petition will continue to run until you actually do listen. After all, a safe alternative natural colour exists, it just costs a little more.

Dr Howard Dengate for the Food Intolerance Network