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FDA Votes 8 to 6 In Favor of Food Dye

On Facebook the other day, I asked: Honestly, people. Do we really need to add petroleum based additives to our food to have some fun?

Apparently, the answer is why not?!

That’s right, in sad food news, after two days of deliberation with an advisory panel, the FDA voted 8 to 6 in favor of synthetic food dyes.

While the FDA acknowledged…

that artificial food dyes may exacerbate symptoms for some children with ADHD, they concluded that there is no clear indication of a causal relationship between food dyes and behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity, in children.

No “clear indication” of a “causal” relationship. Having done quite a bit of research myself and having interpreted even more, I can tell you that “clearly indicating” a “causal” relationship (ie, being able to say: we can definitely say that A is the reason why B happens) is a very difficult thing to do. In this case, it probably also means that there is no “clear indication” that there is definitely no “causal” relationship.

Clearly, I can’t help but be suspicious. The decision in Europe to ban most artificial food dyes and clearly label foods with dyes that are still legal is based on research evidence. So what research was the EU using?! And how is it so different from ours?

And, was it taken into consideration that banning and labeling in Europe triggered a nearly industry wide shift to natural food dyes? If there’s any question about food dyes at all (does acknowledgment that food dyes may exacerbate ADHD symptoms count as question?!), shouldn’t the FDA err on the side of consumer protection, especially when can shift an entire industry towards healthier ingredients?


I’d love to know more. Perhaps details will trickle out over the coming weeks and days. If it does, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check those labels! Food dyes are found in unexpected places. You know the blue color of some of those blue corn tortillas? Let’s just say it doesn’t come from the corn. Or, even better: guess how farm raised salmon gets its pink hue? That’s right friends, many farm raised salmon are fed artificial color. Be aware. Eat natural.

Oh… one more thing… anyone who thinks I’m a party pooper for not being into “fun” colored foods should check out India Tree‘s extensive line of all natural food colors and baking supplies. Many of their products are available through Amazon, as I’m sure are other natural food color brands.

(breaking news via Fooducate)
Photo: iStockPhoto/sritenou


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