Family Magazine

Alarming Artificial Food Coloring Concerns

By Newsanchormom

Alarming Artificial Food Coloring Concerns
Be careful when you decide what the Easter Bunny is hiding in those baskets this year!
I feel like an idiot because I thought red 40 was illegal. Geez! I need to read more labels. The FDA is looking at whether that icky food coloring causes behavioral problems in kids. Some parents and doctors say it does and that is an alarming thought. As far as I know, the only purpose of the dye is to make food look more appealing to get people to buy it. I have never heard of it being necessary or having any nutritional value. So, my vote is to get rid of it. Why should we be feeding ourselves extra chemicals to make the food look pretty? It seems absurd.
FROM NBC: Advisors to the Food and Drug Administration have begun a two-day meeting to discuss the science behind artificial colors in food -- and whether they lead to hyperactivity in children. "All right, wanna taste it first?" This is what a fruit smoothie looks like when the coloring comes from mother nature.
There's nothing in Jackie Jackson Vann's kitchen that's made with artificial colors-a change the Washington D.C. mother made when her son started showing signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Jackie Jackson Vann - Mother: "In 2 weeks I could tell a difference in my children -- in their handwriting, in their focus, doing homework." Now the Food and Drug Administration is looking at cases like the Vann's and discussing whether 8 dyes, including red 40 and yellow 5, are in fact linked to behavioral issues in children.
The meetings were prompted by a petition from the consumer watch-dog group, Center for Science in The Public Interest. Executive Director Michael Jacobson says artificial dyes appear to enhance hyperactivity in kids already prone to it.
Michael Jacobson/Center for Science in the Public Interest: "Getting rid of food dyes is not going to solve the hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder problem. But it would reduce the problem."
The FDA advisors will look at whether the problem was reduced in Great Britain -- after food manufacturers were asked to get rid of several artificial colors. Most companies did -- for example these strawberry bars purchased in the UK are made with paprika extract for color. In the U.S., the same product was made with red 40.

The grocery manufacturers of America issued a statement saying there's no clear link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children and that "...we are always producing the safest possible product for our consumers."
Experts say the use of artificial colors in the U.S. has increased by half in the past 20 years, and a fresh look at their effect is overdue.
Dr. Laura Anderko/Georgetown University: "The regulation hasn't kept up with our consuming habits." "Do you want, um, butter on it?" The Vanns still enjoy the basic kid staples like peanut butter and jelly -- their consuming habits now simply include a lot of label reading. Frito-Lay recently announced it will switch to using natural colors -- like beets and carrots -- in half of its snacks by the end of the year. The FDA advisors are expected to issue recommendations on food dyes by Thursday afternoon.


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