Beware of Neon Foods: Dangers in Artificial Dyes

Dazzle and dyes are part and parcel to U.S. junk food culture. Coloring thousands of foods from fruit to Skittles with artificial dyes is dangerous, particularly to children.

In 2011, the FDA acknowledged that food dyes (and other ingredients) cause behavioral problems in some children, yet has yet to step up and confront industry pressure.

Many health advocates, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have petitioned the FDA to ban Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, and five other artificial food dyes and require front-of-package disclosures on packages of dyed foods.

The British government and the European Union require warning labels on most dyed foods, which has almost eliminated the use of food dyes in Europe.

A 2014 study by Purdue University scientists, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, reports on the dye content of breakfast cereals, candies, baked goods, and other foods, finding that the amounts of dyes often found in single servings exceeds levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair children’s behavior.

For a summary of the highest dye contents in popular kids’ foods, check out the CSPI article here.

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