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.