To estimate the daily intake of food additives by young children aged 1–6 years in Japan, an intake survey was conducted in 2018 using the market basket method for food additives, including twelve types of colourants, three kinds of preservatives, three kinds of sweeteners and two kinds of food manufacturing agents. A list of the daily consumption of processed foods was prepared based on a special survey (MHLW 2011) and used for the estimation. The results of the survey showed that the food additives with the highest daily intake were phosphorus compounds (phosphoric acid and its salts; 11.2 mg/kg bw/day, expressed as phosphorus), followed by propylene glycol (0.80 mg/kg bw/day). The daily intake of other food additives ranged from 0 to 0.20 mg/kg bw/day. The estimated daily intake of each food additives by young children was compared with the acceptable daily intake (ADI) or maximum tolerable daily intake (MTDI). The highest ratio of the estimated daily intake to ADI was 3.2% for propylene glycol, whereas the ratios of the estimated daily intake to ADI for colourants, preservatives and sweeteners ranged from 0 to 1.1% (benzoic acid). The ratio of the estimated daily intake to MTDI for phosphorus compounds was 16%.

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