An independent panel of experts advised the Food and Drug Administration Thursday to restrict the use of certain food dyes due to a correlation with hyperactivity in children.
In an article on the Center for Science in the Public Interest website titled “Strong FDA Action on Food Dyes Urged,” CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson wrote, “I’m glad that after many years of denial, the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the evidence linking synthetic food dyes to behavioral problems in children. Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and other dyes have no useful nutritional or preservative value.”
The FDA has defended the dyes for years, but agreed to review the CSPI findings.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington D.C. lobby for the food, beverage, and consumer products manufacturers, cites a number of studies which exonerate food dyes as components in childhood hyperactivity.
According to their website, the GMA was founded in 1908 to help its members to produce safe products through scientific research and testing.
In an article posted Thursday, the GMA said, “The safety of artificial colors has been affirmed through extensive review by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) (via the food additive review process) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and neither agency sees the need to change current policy. All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.”
“We reviewed the studies and we don’t see a direct, strong link, although certain children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) may have a sensitivity to some substances,” said FDA spokesman Douglas Karas.
CSPI Director Jacobson wrote in his article, “The evidence that these petrochemicals worsen some children’s behavior is convincing, and I hope that the FDA’s advisory committee will advise the agency to both require warning notices and encourage companies voluntarily to switch to safer natural colorings.”
“In Europe, a law requires most dyed foods (there are few) to bear a warning notice, which is a powerful incentive for food manufacturers not to use artificial dyes,” he wrote.
Jacobson concluded: “It is to the great shame of many U.S.-based food companies that they are marketing safer, naturally colored products in Europe but not in the United States.”
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