June 3, 2008 -- A watchdog group called on the FDA to ban artificial food dyes because of concerns they may be linked to behavior problems in some sensitive children.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest wants eight artificial colorings to be pulled off the market in favor of natural food dyes now in growing use in Europe and elsewhere. The eight dyes include Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6.
Another analysis looking at several separate trials estimated that food dyes contribute to hyperactivity disorders in sensitive children. "At the very least, regulators should track consumption of [artificial food colorings]," concludes the study, which was published in 2004 in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
The studies helped lead Britain's Food Standards Agency in April to recommend a ban on six artificial dyes. The European Union's food safety agency has dismissed the studies as too broad to draw any solid conclusions about the safety of food dyes.
The Grocery Manufacturers of America, an industry group, pointed to the EU decision as evidence that food dyes are safe.
"Based on these findings, there is no need for consumers to alter their purchasing and eating habits and they and their children can safely enjoy food products containing these food colors," Robert Brackett, the group's chief science officer said in a statement.