Although the link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children has not made huge headlines in the United States, it is of paramount importance among British consumers (largely because the latest studies emerge from the United Kingdom).
It appears, though, that food dyes may very well be “the next trans fats” on this side of the Atlantic.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Center for Science in the Public Interest “called on federal regulators to ban several colorings, claiming they’re linked to hyperactivity in children.”
These concerns sure proved effective in the UK, where “[the] Mars [company] banished artificial colors from its well-known Starburst and Skittles candies… [and] Kraft did the same in early 2007 with its British version of Lunchables.”
Whether this stems from a sense of social responsibility or simply a ploy to not keep profit margins steady will never be known, but this public outcry certainly did not fall on deaf ears.
Over in the US of A, the CSPI is calling for the ban of six particular artificial colorings, among them Red 40 and Yellow 5, found in cereals, chips, and baked goods.
Although the FDA doesn’t believe a link between food colorings and hyperactivity in children can be substantiated, they have banned certain ones in the past (i.e.: “Red Dye No. 3, which in high doses caused cancer in lab animals, in 1990″).
I predict this will be the “hot” public health and nutrition issue in about two years.
Over in Britain, meanwhile, they are taking no chances. “McDonald’s uses natural colorings for strawberry shakes and sundaes sold in the UK, while it uses artificial dyes for the same in the U.S.”