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Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Hyperactivity?


Fruity Loops, Fruity Pebbles, and other technicolor cereals could be bad for kids, and not just because of the sugar high. Turns out, the food dyes used to create such candylicious treats could be contributing to childhood hyperactivity and other behavior issues.

Last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest began urging the Food and Drug Administration to outlaw eight artificial food dyes, citing three decades' worth of studies that suggest the artificial dyes could exacerbate kids' behavioral problems. The FDA, meanwhile, disputes the claim. Here's more:

Over the years, the FDA has consistently disputed the center's assertion. . . Julie Zawisza, an FDA spokeswoman, said Tuesday that color additives undergo safety reviews prior to approval for marketing and that samples of each artificial coloring are tested. She said the agency reviewed one of the studies that the center cites in calling for a ban.

"(We) didn't find a reason to change our conclusions that the ingredients are safe for the general population," Zawisza said.

For more details on the debate and to see what I think, read more.

In lieu of a full ban, the group is asking the FDA to add warning labels to foods that contain any of eight dyes: Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6. With so many multicolored food products being marketed to kids, children are far more likely to consume these dyes than adults.

Considering that dyes are used primarily to make products more appealing to kids, it's no wonder that marketing-savvy companies want to keep using them. But since the unnatural ingredients add nothing to the food's nutritional value and may actually be harmful, I'm all for more regulation or at least warning labels, even if the connection to behavioral problem is up for debate. What do you think?

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