Development and validation of surveys to estimate food additive intake Academic Article uri icon


  • (1) Background: The Food Agricultural Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) International Food Standards Codex Alimentarius CXS 192e International Food Standards (hereafter, CODEX) declares additives non-toxic, but they have been associated with changes to the microbiota changes and thinning of the mucus layer of the gut. Their widespread use has occurred in parallel with increased inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) incidence. This paper reports on the development and validation of surveys to estimate additive intake. (2) Methods: Dietitians created a food-additive database, with a focus on additives that have been associated with IBD. For each additive, information on the CODEX food-category they are permitted in and the associated maximum permissible levels (mg/kg) was recorded. Based on the database, questions to assess early life (part 1) and recent (part 2) additive intake were written. Forward–backward translation from English to Chinese was undertaken. Thirty-one individuals were evaluated to assess understandability. A further fifty-seven individuals completed the tool on two occasions, a fortnight apart; agreement was assessed using Cohen’s kappa coefficient or the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). (3) Results: The participants reported that it was difficult to remember food intake and estimate portion sizes. The participants also noted confusion around the term ‘home-grown’. Instructions and definitions were added; after this, respondents judged the questionnaires as clear. The average kappa coefficient for part 1 and part 2 questions were 0.61 and 0.67, respectively. The average ICC ranged from 0.30 to 0.94; three food lists were removed due to low reliability. (4) Conclusions: Two tools have been created and validated, in two languages, that reliably assess remote and recent food additive intake.


  • Trakman, Gina L
  • Lin, W
  • Wilson-O’brien, AL
  • Stanley, A
  • Hamilton, AL
  • Tang, W
  • Or, L
  • Ching, J
  • Morrison, M
  • Yu, J
  • Ng, SC
  • Kamm, MA

publication date

  • 2020