Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Oh My, There’s a Warning on that Food Dye!

My Oh My, There's a Warning on that Food Dye!

Posted: 21 Jul 2010 04:53 AM PDT

Starting today, European consumers can better protect their children from risky food. The EU nations will require foods manufactured with artificial colors to present the following warning on the label

"May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children"

This warning applies to 6 artificial food colorings that have been found to negatively affect neurological activity in children. If you've been wondering why your son or daughter go wild after eating a snack, perhaps it's not a sugar rush, rather a food dye thing.

This decision is a death notice for these colorings. No food manufacturer will want such a turnoff on their products. Which means they'll resort to natural, more expensive colorings.

Four of the 6 colors that EFSA has marked are widely used in the US. They are regarded as safe by the FDA and may be found in thousands of products across all supermarket categories. These are:

  1. sunset yellow (E110) – known in the US as Yellow #6
  2. tartrazine (E102) – aka Yellow #5
  3. carmoisine (E122) – aka Red #3
  4. allura red (E129) – aka Red #40

Some of the dyes are also suspected carcinogens.

This is great news for Europeans, who have governments that have a higher propensity to look out for consumers' needs compared to the US. Our leadership is more business friendly. While we could debate the ideal form of government and corporate relationships for days on end, we prefer not to go there in this blog post.

What's clear is this – more is being done to protect kids across the Atlantic puddle than here at home. As parents, we should be concerned. Let's hope this new labeling regulation serves as a wake up call to the FDA and Congress, so that our kids can be better protected too. House Rules Committee Chair Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has already made a statement on this issue.

What to do at the supermarket:

It's hard to imagine that labeling laws will change here anytime soon. Right now, YOU have to be vigilant about the products you buy for your family.

Scan ingredient lists of products such as cereals, yogurts, cakes, snacks, soups, and more for numbers next to colors (Yellow 5, Red 40. etc…) . If you see them, move on to an alternative product. If a product is too bright and colorful, and it's not a fresh fruit or veggie, be suspicious.

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