Parents are being advised by experts not to give their children food containing certain additives until the results of a new study are published.
UK researchers tested the effects of a range of artificial colourings on children's behaviour.
It is understood the results back previous research linking additives to hyperactivity and poor concentration.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it would not issue formal recommendations until the findings were published.
But independent experts said parents should avoid foodstuffs containing the additives.
A team at the University of Southampton tested the additives tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104) and allura red AC (E129) on both three-year olds and eight-to-nine year olds.
The amounts used in the study were those that an average child might consume in a day.
A source at the University told food industry magazine the Grocer that their results supported findings first made seven years ago that linked the additives to behavioural problems such as temper tantrums, poor concentration, hyperactivity and allergic reactions.
The FSA's Committee of Toxicity on Chemicals looked at the original research, known as the Isle of Wight study, which had concluded removal of such colourings from childrens' diet would produce "significant changes" in behaviour and not just in those children already showing hyperactive behaviour.
But the Committee decided in 2002 the research was inconclusive.
At a recent closed meeting the Committee noted the "public health importance" of the new findings but the results will not be acted until published in a scientific journal.
The FSA said it would be handling the findings in "the proper scientific way" and hoped they would be published in a matter of months.
Source - BBC