The FDA is convening an advisory panel later this week for a two day “colorthon” to discuss mounting evidence that artificial food dyes are causing hyperactivity in kids.
This is huge folks.
What you need to know:
The FDA long ago granted GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status to several artificial dyes including red #40, yellow #5, and others, that have been linked in studies to hyperactivity in kids as well as cancer. These studies have been disputed though, usually by industry funded experts. This blog is not the place to go into the details of study design and methodology, but just take a look at what our neighbors across the Atlantic have done.
The British government has found the studies disturbing enough to warrant warning labels on products using artificial colors. Guess what happened almost instantly?
Companies figured out a way to use natural colors instead. Yes, the strawberry filling may be a bit less fluorescent than it used to be, but none of the food companies have gone out of business so far.
So why don’t US companies follow suit? Why doesn’t Kellogg’s change the red #40 dye on its Nutri-grain bars in the US like it did for the same exact product in the UK?
Because the greedy corporate number crunchers couldn’t care less about your children’s health. If they can save half a cent per package of bars, and get away with it, that’s what will happen.
We’ve written many times about this matter, and we’ll keeping hammering down until all artificial food dyes are removed from our food supply.
Thankfully, some companies are beginning to mend their ways (if only partially):
Frito-Lay is promoting its decision to get rid of artificial colors and flavors in more than 60 of its snack products, substituting ingredients such as beet juice and carrots for Red No. 40, one of the artificial dyes.
“We’re always looking for new ways to give consumers what they’re looking for, which includes providing a wider range of products made with natural ingredients,” said Jeff Dahncke, a spokesman for Pepsico, which owns Frito-Lay. But the company said it has no plans to mess with the chemically enhanced orange of its Doritos or Cheetos, two of its top-selling brands. Read more from the Washington Post…
“Giving consumers what they are looking for” is not really the story, that’s just PR speak. The removal of problematic ingredients happens only when we consumers unite and vote with our pocketbooks.
Or when the FDA intervenes on our behalf, something that rarely happens, unfortunately.
What to do at the supermarket:
Try to avoid any product that has artificial colors. If enough of us do so, we’ll be sending a clear message to the industry – enough is enough.