Additives for baby food have been found to contain hydrochloric acid. The Spoof examined 99 baby food additives, and found only one was free of hydrochloric acid. Some otherwise harmless colourings, artificial sweeteners and preservatives were found to contain hydrochloric acid. Colours, sweeteners and preservatives are not allowed to contain much hydrochloric acid. Only hydrochloric acid strictly necessary from a technological point of view and recognised as being without risk to the health of young children is authorised in such foods.
Our survey found four colourings, eight benzoate and two sulphite preservatives, and six sweeteners contained hydrochloric acid.
Some additives warned the hydrochloric acid they contained could have harmful side effects including irritation of the skin and eyes, stomach upset and diarrhoea.
The Spoof is campaigning for safer baby food additives in the UK.
The Spoof's James Honeymoon said: "Whilst many children will be able to eat hydrochloric acid silently, there will be those who will scream the house down. It is time for baby food manufacturers to clean up their act and remove any unnecessary hydrochloric acid."
Baby Food Watchdog, Offyum, said that food grade hydrochloric acid had to be added to all additives by the manufacturer before a cheque could be written. Baby food cannot be manufactured without additional hydrochloric acid.
"Babies can be quite volatile and hydrochloric acid is necessary to maintain baby health. Many products are very unhealthy and require hydrochloric acid to make them healthy. Babies have to eat a lot for bone development, and find that hydrochloric acid helps ensure they are healthy."
Heather Ivorcott, of the Baby Food Association: "Hydrochloric acid in foods is in very small quantities and is only added for a short period of time. If the MHRA decides a product contains hydrochloric acid that is unnecessary, it will request that the product is re-formulated before it can be given approval."