An FDA panel will weigh whether there is enough evidence of a connection between food dyes and hyperactive behavior in some children to either ban food dyes, or require manufacturers to put warning labels on products that use them.
FDA Considers Food Dye and Hyperactivity Link
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:
The subject of food dyes, artificial coloring, is back in the news along with a mystery that's been around for a while. Is there a connection between certain colors in foods and beverages and hyperactivity or attention deficit behavior? The FDA is looking for a link. And then the question becomes, is there enough evidence to ban them or at least require warning labels? Here's NBC's Tom Costello.
Ms. JACKIE JACKSON VANN (Rileigh's Mother): Do you want cereal, a...
TOM COSTELLO reporting:
Seven AM in the Vann family home and breakfast is in the blender: bananas, strawberries, orange juice, and a muffin on the side. Three years ago, when eight-year-old Rileigh was showing signs of ADHD, his mom threw out every food containing artificial dyes and flavors.
Ms. VANN: In two weeks I could tell a difference in my children, in their handwriting, in their focus, doing homework.
COSTELLO: Here's Rileigh's handwriting before the new diet, and several weeks after. Now the FDA is once again looking at blue 1 and 2, green 3, orange B, yellow 5 and 6, red 40 and red 3, found in everything from drinks to candies, baked goods, chips, even pickles and mac and cheese. Many doctors, researchers and consumer advocates have long argued there's a link between the dyes and hyperactivity.
Mr. MICHAEL JACOBSON (Center for Science in the Public Interest): There's something genetic that's going on, but then along come food dyes and they can trigger it in at least some kids.
COSTELLO: This controversy isn't new. Since the 1970s, the Feingold Diet has been all about healthy eating and eliminating dyes from kids' menus. And now there's signs the FDA is changing its opinion. The FDA has always said there is no evidence of an ADHD link, but now says "the data suggests that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, artificial food colors." Today the Grocery Manufacturers of America insisted there is no demonstrable link to ADHD and "we are always producing the safest possible product for our consumers." Now an FDA panel will decide whether food dyes are safe enough to remain on America's store shelves. Tom Costello, NBC News, Washington.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese — that favorite food of kids, packaged in the nostalgic blue box — will soon be free of yellow dye. Kraft announced Monday that it will remove artificial food coloring, notably Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 dyes, from its iconic product by January 2016. Instead, the pasta will maintain its bright yellow color by using natural ingredients: paprika, turmeric and annatto (the latter of which is derived from achiote tree seeds).
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