Food additive intake has been estimated in Finland by means of a stepwise system using simultaneously two different methods. The first method, based on food consumption and food control analysis, can be classified into the group of Estimated Daily Intake methods (EDI). The second method, a questionnaire to food manufacturers concerning the use of food additives, has been employed five times. Estimates have been timed to reflect legislative changes and their influence on the intake. The intake of most food additives and sweeteners by Finnish diabetic adolescents was well below Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs). The average nitrite intake, especially by children and adolescents, was greater. Estimates of nitrite intake by children varied between 39% and 89% of ADIs depending on the method used and the new ADIs given by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Diabetic children's and the mothers' daily intake of nitrite was shown to be greater when compared with that of non-diabetics and the results of that other Finnish study gives support the evidence that dietary nitrites may be associated with the development of Type I diabetes. New estimates of additive intakes, based on a nationwide control project carried out in 1994, will be worked out. The results will reflect the situation in Finland before EU membership.

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