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Originally published September 22 2008

Call for Ban on Eight Dangerous Food Dyes in U.S. Foods

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has submitted a petition asking the FDA to phase out the use of eight artificial food dyes due to growing concerns over their health effects, especially in children.

"The purpose of these chemicals is often to mask the absence of real food, to increase the appeal of a low-nutrition product to children, or both," said CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson.

In a recent study, published in the respected medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that children with no prior history of such problems began to exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity after drinking fruit juices colored with artificial dyes.

The dyes listed in the CSPI petition are blue 1 (brilliant blue), blue 2 (indigotine), green 3 (fast green), orange B, red 3 (erythrosine), red 40 (allura red), yellow 5 (tartrazine) and yellow 6 (sunset yellow). With the exception of orange B, all the colorings are used in a wide variety of products, from juice to ketchup to cheese. Orange B is permitted for use only in hot dog and sausage casings.

Jacobson noted that there are non-artificial alternatives to all the targeted dies.

"The continued use of these unnecessary artificial dyes at a time of heightened concern about hyperactivity in children is the secret shame of the food industry and the regulators who watch over it," he said.

The dyes, many of which are derived from coal tar, have also been linked to other health problems.

Canada also allows the use of all the additives, except for orange B. While food manufacturers are required to list "colors" on their ingredient lists, they are not required to disclose which dyes - artificial or natural - they have used.

In response to the Lancet study and other recent research, however, the country's health agency "has begun work to change labeling requirements to require that any food colors are declared in the ingredient list by [their] specific common name," according to Health Canada spokesperson Paul Duchesne.

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