Article: F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings

Take a look at the article by the New York Times regarding artificial food colouring and the possibility that they may worsen behaviour problems in children. Many consumers have had concerns about the toxicity of food dyes, but for the first time in the US a panel of experts will be reviewing the evidence and recommending possible policy changes that would require warnings be placed on food packages with artificial food colouring.

Warnings are already a policy in Europe; packages are required to be labeled with a warning that the food may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children. But in Canada, manufacturers are only required to identify each individual colour on the ingredients list.

Some dyes have been found to be more dangerous than others, so reading labels is important. The following synthetic dyes are best to avoid:

  • yellow 5, or tartrazine
  • red 40, or allura red
  • blue 1, or brilliant blue
  • blue 2, or indigotine
  • green 3, or fast green
  • red 3, or erythrosine
  • yellow 6, or sunset yellow
  • orange B

If you want to err on the side of caution and avoid all artificial food colourings, here is a list of some common food items with labels that should be read or that should be avoided altogether:

  • Cheetos/Kraft Dinner/other bright orange cheese products (real cheddar cheese is usually dyed naturally)
  • Breakfast cereals/Pop Tarts
  • Jams/jellies
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit sodas/Fanta
  • Dry drink powders
  • Packaged noodles/soups
  • Candy/pudding
  • Condiments
  • Imported Asian sauces