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Safety

Artificial Food Dyes Attacked

by Britt E. Erickson
January 25, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 4

Red 40, Yellow 5, and six other artificial food dyes do not meet the federal safety standard for food additives, a report from the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) concludes. The group claims that synthetic food colorings are linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children. Many American children consume levels of artificial food dyes that far exceed the levels associated with such problems, the report says. CSPI petitioned FDA in 2008 to ban eight artificial food dyes, but FDA declared in 2011 that the scientific evidence is inadequate to support a link between the dyes and behavioral problems. Since 2011, “eight detailed analyses, including two meta-analyses, concluded that excluding food dyes, or a diet that eliminates dyed foods and certain other foods and ingredients, reduces behavior problems in some children,” CSPI says. In a Jan. 19 letter to FDA, the group and 13 scientists call for a ban on artificial food dyes and for warning labels in the interim.

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