We have touched on the subject of food dyes in past posts, and how tricky food labels have convinced consumers that they were eating healthy foods, such as blueberries, when in actuality they were consuming chemical-based food dyes.
According to this Washington Post article, “In the early 1990s, FDA and Canadian scientists found that Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, the three most widely used dyes, were contaminated with likely human carcinogens. And while many foods, such as M&M’s and Kellogg’s Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts, include as many as five different dyes, even today the carcinogenic potential of such combinations has not been tested.”
Additionally, the British government funded two studies, involving a total of nearly 600 children. They found that artificial food coloring, in combination with a common food preservative, could “make even children with no known behavioral problems hyperactive and inattentive.” So, “Health officials in the United Kingdom urged manufacturers to stop using the six dyes — including Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 — involved in those studies. Next, the European Parliament required that foods containing those chemicals bear a label warning that the dyes ‘may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.’”
Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a meeting to review whether there is a possible association between artificial food dyes and children’s risk of ADHD.
The FDA voted 8 to 6 NOT to ban synthetic food dyes and NOT to require that products containing dyes warn of a possible risk of ADHD. Instead, the FDA recommended that further research on food dyes and hyperactive behavior be conducted.
For the most part, I avoid buying foods with artificial food coloring. As I have mentioned in prior posts, we mostly consume an organic diet these days. But, as you know, it is impossible to control everything that our children put into their mouths, especially when they attend child care outside of the home.
So, I pulled all of the items that I could find with artificial food coloring from my pantry, once and for all, and here is what I found:
Food dye in children’s Pedialyte? I was shocked. This is something that I have given to my children on several occasions, when they had diarrhea and/or a fever and I needed to hydrate them. Nothing like giving our children chemical-laden medicine when their bodies are in the most need of nourishment.
Fortunately, the foods below are some of the healthier, dye-free ‘replacements’ that I also had in my pantry. The Pedialyte pictured below does not contain artificial food coloring, and I will continue to buy the variety below for this reason. I even started buying my children organic loli-pops, since they don’t contain either food dyes or genetically modified high fructose corn syrup.
-What and how many food items do you have in your pantry that contain artificial food coloring?