Why Is the FDA Turning a Blind Eye to Food Dye Dangers?
The debate about the safety of artificial food dyes has been back in the news recently, with recent studies linking chemical-based food dyes to hyperactivity, or ADHD, in children. Experts are calling on the FDA to step in with new regulations.
Two weeks ago, an FDA advisory panel voted 8-6 against new restrictions or warning label requirements for processed foods containing chemical-based food dyes. Based on their analysis, the panel said, there is not enough scientific evidence linking artificial colors to ADHD. However, several studies as well as the opinions of leading experts contradict this conclusion.
It has been suspected since the 1970s that chemical-based food additives such as food dyes or preservatives might cause ADHD symptoms or make them worse. Numerous recent studies, not to mention the experiences of many parents, support such a link.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group who petitioned the FDA to reassess the safety of artificial food dyes, the nine food dyes currently allowed by the FDA for use in foods (such as Red No. 40, Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6) pose “a rainbow of risks.” These serious health risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer, allergic reactions and more. (I encourage you to visit the CSPI’s website for more information.)
It’s easy to understand why many companies like using artificial food dyes — they are cheaper, more stable and brighter than most natural colorings. The CSPI says that food dyes are often used to deceive consumers, as they are designed to “simulate the presence of healthful, colorful fruits and vegetables.”
For example, it was recently reported that General Mills introduced a cereal called Total Blueberry Pomegranate, which in fact, had no fruit in it at all! It was just a clever use of food dyes and sugar. Such practices and the use of artificial dyes, by the way, have been virtually banned all throughout Europe.
Who else likes artificial food dyes? Kids do. Most of the food products that contain these dyes — from soft drinks and candy to breakfast cereals and Pop-Tarts — are specifically marketed to children.
As a parent of two young children, I am appalled by the FDA’s blatant disregard for the safety of our young ones. Unfortunately, I can only surmise that this is yet another case of the FDA putting the interests of big business (in this case the large food companies) over the interests of the American people.
Of course, being that my kids are still very young, my wife and I have a lot of control over what they consume — though not total control. We work hard to only provide them with natural foods at home, and hope that they will continue to prefer to eat this way when they get older. However, what they see on TV, in the stores, at school and at their friends’ house influences their preferences. And when you start looking, it’s just amazing how ubiquitous artificial coloring is. Obviously, there’s only so much we can do as parents.
What do you think? Do artificial food dyes cause hyperactivity in children or pose other health risks? Should they be banned or come with a warning label? Please post a comment below and share your thoughts.
Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.