FDA Examines Link Between Food Dyes and Hyperactivity

by , 03/30/11
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Today and tomorrow, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be meeting to take a closer look at the possible link between artificial food dyes and hyperactivity in children. The fact that the FDA is even considering that there may be a link between food dyes and kids’ behavior is astounding. For years the federal government has been defending the safety of fake food coloring, even as research has linked artificial food dyes to a slew of problems, such as known carcinogen contamination, allergic reactions, behavioral impairments and more. Not to mention that fake food dyes are made with petroleum (ick). Honestly, hyperactivity may be the least of your worries. Fake food dyes may carry much higher risks. For example, back in the 50s, Orange No. 1 dye was banned due to toxicity. In the 70s, Red No. 2 was banned because the FDA suspected it was carcinogenic. However, Red No. 2 was quickly replaced by Red No. 40 – another questionable dye.

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In a statement, The Grocery Manufacturers Association notes:

All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial colors and hyperactivity among children.

Of course The Grocery Manufacturers Association would stick to this story though. Fake food dyes are found in just about everything grocers sell; from the expected, like jelly beans and neon juices, to the less expected such as salad dressing, frozen kids meals and granola bars. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) would like the FDA to ban eight artificial food dyes, or at the very least, require that manufactures label dyed foods as a possible cause of behavioral problems. The eight questionable dyes include the popular Yellow No. 5 found in mac ‘n’ cheese, pickles, Gatorade and more. The other food dyes on the CPSI’s target list are Blue 1, Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, Red 40 and Yellow 6. Right now, zero bans are on the table. The FDA is simply asking experts to weigh in on the possible link between hyperactivity and food dye.

We’ll see how it all plays out, but history says that the FDA is likely to side with big business, not consumers, meaning, it’s up to you to avoid artificial food dyes. With an official stance that food dyes are, “Very safe,” it’s unlikely that the FDA will be banning them anytime soon.

+ Tips for avoiding fake food dyes

+ F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings

+ Source: Reuters

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