Consumer group urges ban on food dyes

Reuters, Thursday 31 Mar 2011

The color dyes used to brighten cereals, snacks and drinks help make some children hyperactive and should be banned or at least carry a warning

Artificial blue, green, orange, red and yellow food colorings show up in everything from PepsiCo's Gatorade, Cheetos and Doritos to Kellogg's Eggo waffles and Kraft's Jell-O desserts.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has long deemed the dyes safe but is reviewing recent studies of the colors' effects on children's behavior at the request of a consumer group. Gathering input from a panel of outside advisers is part of that review.

FDA staff reviewers said in a preliminary report that scientific research so far suggested some children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be affected by food coloring. The disorder affects up to 5 percent of U.S. children, according to government statistics.

The committee of outside experts could urge a ban or warning, or it could suggest more studies if the advisers judge current evidence inadequate. The review itself has added weight to a decades-old consumer debate on whether parents should let their kids eat artificially colored foods.

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