DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Should products carry a warning label if they contain artificial food coloring?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to know if there could be a link between the bright artificial colors and hyperactivity in some kids.
The FDA previously concluded that there is no link between the colorings and behavior or health problems. But the agency said that for “certain susceptible children,” hyperactivity and other behavioral problems may be exacerbated by food dyes and other substances in food.
In 1976, the agency banned Red dye number two because it was suspected to be carcinogenic. It was then replaced by Red number 40.
Public health advocates agree that dyes do not appear to be the underlying cause of hyperactivity, but say that the effects of dyes on some children is cause enough to ban the additives.
Some grocery chains, including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, refuse to sell foods with artificial coloring.
The food industry is warning consumers not to rush to judgment. David Schmidt, president and CEO of International Food Information Council Foundation, a food-industry funded group, said dyes help consumers enjoy their food by maintaining or improving appearance.
Suggesting a link between the color additives and attention deficit disorder in children “could have unintended consequences, including unnecessarily frightening consumers about safe ingredients that are consumed every day,” he said.
A two-day meeting, which began Wednesday, was organized for a FDA advisory committee to decide whether available data links the dyes and the disorder.
The panel will recommend Thursday whether the agency should further regulate dyes, do more studies on the issue or require better labeling of the additives. They could also recommend that the FDA do nothing at all.
© 2011 WWJ Newsradio 950, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.