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Leading article: Off colour

The world of soft drinks seems to be losing its innocence. Once upon a time, the bright orange appearance of Irn-Bru was one of its major selling points. But now, apparently, the colour screams not delight, but danger.

New European Union rules mean that the makers of Irn-Bru will henceforth have to warn parents that it contains ingredients that could cause hyperactivity in children. And the colourings that give Irn-Bru its distinctive look are to blame. Some will rail against this decision. There will be complaints of Eurocrats running wild, health and safety madness, national icons despoiled, etc. But we feel full disclosure is for the best, even for beverages that have become national treasures.

And we suspect that as long as Irn-Bru continues to make it clear to customers that it is "made in Scotland from girders", demand will not suffer unduly. After all, who among us does not need a little iron in their spirits these days?