OTTAWA - Health Canada is seeking public input on proposed changes to improve labelling requirements for colouring agents in food products.

A consultation forum will be posted on the Health Canada website and open for comments from Feb. 18 until May 4, the federal department said Thursday.

Canadian Food and Drug Regulations currently allow manufacturers to use the general term "colour" to specify one or more food colours. For the majority of prepackaged foods, manufacturers may voluntarily declare individual colours by name at their own discretion.

"However, there is some evidence suggesting a link between consumption of certain food colours and adverse reactions in sensitive individuals," the department said in a release. "More recently, certain food colour mixtures have been associated with behavioural effects in children. For these reasons, Health Canada considers it prudent to improve labelling requirements for food colours."

Proposed changes would eliminate the option of using the general term "colour" and require that individual colours be identified on food ingredient labels, enabling consumers to make informed choices that could reduce adverse reactions.

Health Canada said it will update progress on the issue once the consultation period has ended

Comments on proposals may be submitted by regular mail to: Bureau of Chemical Safety, 251 Sir Frederick Banting Drive, Health Canada, Tunney's Pasture, Address Locator: 2203B, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0L2.

To comment electronically, email, using the words "Food Colour Labelling" in the subject box.