Artificial Food Dyes Scrutinized by FDA


food-dyes-fdaA Food and Drug Administration panel plans to meet this week to consider the potential link between hyperactivity in children and artificial dyes found in common foods such as candy, waffles and salad dressing.The FDA is reconsidering its long-held position that the dyes pose no risk to children or anyone else. Artificial food dyes with names like Yellow 5 have long been targeted by some scientists and consumer advocates concerned that they could cause hyperactivity in children.

The panel, which will meet Wednesday and Thursday, is expected to possibly call for more research. It isn’t expected to take bigger steps such as banning artificial coloring.

The FDA signaled the first change in its thinking last week in a memo that said artificial food dye is an issue “for certain susceptible children with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] and other problem behaviors.” The FDA said there isn’t a link between hyperactivity and food dyes in the general population.

“The data suggest that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, artificial food colors,” the FDA memo said.

“Their kids are rambunctious or inattentive, [parents] don’t think maybe it’s the food dyes in the M&M’s or the instant oatmeal,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The public health watchdog group petitioned the FDA to review eight food dyes in June 2008, which led to this week’s meeting.

In a statement, Mars Inc., the maker of M&M’s said, “We have absolute confidence in the safety of all the natural and artificial ingredients we use, as do the FDA, the EFSA [European Food Safety Authority] and other leading health safety regulators globally.” The company said it is “continuing to explore the use of natural colors.”

Likewise, a spokesman for Kraft Foods Inc. said, “These colors have undergone thorough review, with the weight of independent scientific evidence supporting the FDA and EFSA’s conclusions regarding their safety.” Kraft offers products without dyes and has expanded its product line to include organic white cheddar macaroni and cheese and Kool-Aid Invisible, which lacks food coloring. Kraft Foods makes at least 100 products with artificial dyes including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, which uses Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.

The controversy surrounding artificial food dyes dates back to the 1970s, when a California pediatrician began recommending the elimination of dyes and preservatives in the diets of children with behavior problems.

The controversy was reawakened after a 2007 study, commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency, linked hyperactivity in children to artificial colorings, some of which aren’t used in the U.S., and a food preservative.

The study spurred the European Parliament to pass a law in July 2008, requiring products containing food dyes in Europe to carry the warning “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

But the studies available to analyze the effect of dyes on children, including the 2007 study, are full of “noise” and poor methodologies, mostly because it’s so difficult to do studies on children, said Keith Ayoob, professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He spoke at a Friday press briefing held by the International Food Information Council Foundation, a nonprofit group funded by the food industry.

Other issues can affect hyperactivity in children, such as eating habits and exercise, he said. While “there may be a small subset of children that are especially sensitive,” Mr. Ayoob said he doesn’t think labeling or banning the dyes is necessary.

It doesn’t seem likely that the FDA will take those actions, but their position has changed.

After 20 years of insisting there was no evidence to support a link between hyperactivity and food dye, CSPI’s Mr. Jacobson said, “the committee report acknowledges that some kids are affected.”

Regardless of the FDA meeting outcome, Mr. Jacobson is hopeful that the raised awareness will cause companies to reevaluate their use of artificial colors.

“They’re cheap, they’re stable, they’re bright,” Mr. Jacobson said of artificial dyes. Natural dyes that come from fruits and vegetables are more expensive and don’t produce the same hues, he added.

And natural colors aren’t necessarily the solution either, said Kantha Shelke, food chemist with the consulting firm Corvus Blue. Artificial food dyes have been studied for decades, but little is known about the effects of the amount of spinach it would take to color one M&M green.

“It’s time to develop foods so they don’t need the colors and educate the consumers about the benefits,” said Ms. Shelke.

{The Wall Street Journal/ Newscenter}


  1. Just over a month ago, at, Matzav published a similar type of article. There though, the subject was about a much more serious side of the picture, that of indications that artificial sweeteners are one of the causes of the very deadly disease of, Lo Alaynu – it should not happen to us, strokes.

    With these informative articles, we can being to see a tiny bit of the immense infinite wisdom of our Torah HaKdosha. The Mussar aspects of our Torah strongly exhort us to be very cautious when we go to use and enjoy the physical items of this world. We should only take what we need to enable us to be alive, healthy, and properly functioning. Furthermore, our physical usages, enjoyments, and healthy existences, while being certainly extremely beautiful and awesome, are not to be viewed as goals in themselves; rather they are to be all used for the purpose of serving the One Who creates them.

    So in the realm of eating, our intention has to be to get proper physical nourishment so that we will be alive, healthy, and properly functioning, so that we will be able to properly serve HaShem. This means keenly realizing His awesome goodness in that He gives us nourishing food and gives us great enjoyment when we eat it, fully thanking Him for the nourishing food and the immense enjoyment that we get when we eat it, and properly doing all of the other Mitzvos that He requires us to do.

    Understandably, many of us felt that these Mussar exhortations were not right, for to our limited and distorted understanding, they seem to cut us off from living in the world.

    However, as I just remarked, now we can begin to realize and appreciate how, on the contrary, these Mussar instructions of our Torah are totally correct and are deeply wise pieces of good advice for us in the world.

  2. (continuation of previous comment)

    Our modern life has gone to the most extreme exact opposite of this advice of Mussar. In the “olden days,” no matter what religion a person was of, it was an understood rule of living that before partaking of a meal, he or she would first say a prayer to thank (whoever he or she believed was) G-D for the food. Today though of course, such “silly rituals” have no place with modern “educated” children who have been taught holy, holy, holy, holy, holy modern “science” that there is no “G-D” Who “brings forth bread from the earth”; rather, it was the holy, holy, holy EVOLUTION that “brought forth the bread from the earth”!!

    So eating today has nothing to do with any kind of “Service of G-D” – “Avodas HaShem.” Not only are our eating intentions not about Avodas HaShem, they are not too much about nourishment either! With a completely distorted over emphasis on the enjoyment aspect and a neglect of the sustenance aspect, our main criteria for food quality has been virtually just two requirements; these are:

    1.) What — seems to — look good

    2.) What — seems to — taste good

    In this extreme hyper-obsession with what looks and tastes good, the modern food production industries have concocted a nearly endless number of chemicals to magnify appearance and flavor: fruit & vegetable waxes, artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, preservatives, stablizers, and other enhancers.

  3. (continuation of previous comment)

    Probably the epitome of the taste obsession is the obsession with sweeteners. The original sugar cane plant itself is certainly a good plant, which produces a good food. The common granulated refined sugar that is extracted from the canes though, is not the best product, for it is now stripped of all the other cane substances that would have given it proper food balance.

    It can be well argued that there is certainly a proper place for this sugar, with its delicious sweetness, in candies, frosting on cakes, and cookies. However, we have put sugar on almost everything and in almost everything! We routinely put sugar, and large amounts of it, on fruits and vegetables and in fruit & vegetable drinks. These are items that do not need any (added) sugar, for they are already formed with good healthful natural sugars.

    We further have sugar in countless items which, we would think, we would not expect or even want any sugar or any kind of sweet taste with: breads, cereals, meat sauces, fish sauces, tomato sauces, pizzas, breaded fish crusts, breaded meat crusts, soups, etc., etc. Even for milk, we have chocolate flavored milk and several kinds of chocolate and strawberry flavored powders and syrups for ourselves to mix into milk. In all of these products, besides the actual chocolate and strawberry flavors, there are large amounts of sugar.

    All of this exceedingly excessive consumption of refined sugar certainly does not contribute to good health. Then, there are numerous people for whom, because of, Lo Alaynu, certain severe illness breakdowns, eating sugar is an outright danger to their lives. This is no problem though, for our great saviors of holy, holy modern industry have created an “alternative” — sugar “replacements”!

    Just the names of these many artificial sweeteners are quite sickening: “Sweet ‘N Low,” “Sugar Twin,” “Nutrasweet,” “Splenda.” The endless advertisements pushing them are even more nauseating and deceptive: “To your body, Nutrasweet looks like this: (there is a full page color photograph of big purple grapes and other beautiful looking fruits).” “Splenda tastes like sugar, because it is half sugar.” (This is a totally misleading complete lie! Splenda is NOT “half sugar”! What it is though, is that part of the sugar molecule is taken, and then, other pieces are synthetically added to the molecule. This produces a new molecule of a completely new artificial substance, which, by the way, has a chemical structure that is similar to that of certain pesticides!)

    Of course, the holy, holy, holy priests of holy modern industry have assured us — along with the official governmental FDA stamp of approval — that all of these new artificial additives are completely good and “safe.”

    The real truth though, is quite different. About a year and a half ago, at, Matzav published a piece on the topic. The article, from the super (so-called) mainstream media publication “Time Magazine,” did relate serious problems with “earlier” sweeteners; however, it — expectedly — reassured us of the total safety of the “new” sweeteners. In the comments section, I did not post my own remarks. What I did do though, in Comments nos 3 – 9, I pasted copies of several professional articles, which, in great detail, showed some of the very severe dangers of these supposedly safe synthetic sweetening products.

  4. (continuation of previous comment)

    Until now, we have discussed how in our craze over the superficial looks and taste of food, countless harmful items are added to our food. Furthermore, even the original natural food itself is made into something that is quite unnatural and not for our benefit. When it is still growing in the plants in the ground out on the farm in the “natural” countryside, it is repeatedly heavily sprayed with numerous herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and other pesticides. (I once saw an article that stated that a regular modern apple is treated with as much as ONE HUNDRED different pesticides!) Even the ground itself — which has been severely depleted of its naturally occurring nutrients — is heavily saturated with artificial vitamins and chemical fertilizers.

    [Again, this is a gigantic subject. All of the synthetically produced pesticides are of the very worst poisons that man has created. The whole essence of their formation is to severely injure and destroy life. Many of them are patterned after the deadly gases that the Nazis, Yemach Shemam V’Zichram, used to massacre millions of our (and other) people in the Holocaust. For just a tiny start, see: and

  5. (continuation of previous comment)

    Animal and fowl livestocks are additionally “groomed” for these obsessions. They are heavily drugged with numerous hormones and antibiotics to produce meat and poultry with certain sizes, textures, and flavors. Furthermore, throughout their growing cycles, animals are kept tightly confined in rows of narrow stalls, and chickens and other fowls are kept either jammed together on huge trays or tightly confined in tiny cages, which are stacked up like boxes in a warehouse. Keeping livestock all boxed up is not only the understood way of the mass production of modern industry, here, it is done on purpose; for when the animals and birds are held in one place and unable to move, the meat that comes from them is soft and tender! THE MEAT THAT COMES FROM THEM IS SOFT AND TENDER!

    When animals and birds are forced to constantly stand in one place, when they have to evacuate, they are thus forced to evacuate their waste down onto the place where they are standing. And as they are being forced to continue standing in that place, that means that they are continually standing in their own sewage!

    Needless to say, any living creature that remains placed in its own sewage waste is going to contract serious disease. However, holy, holy, holy modern agriculture/veterinary medicine has the holy, holy answer — inject the animals and birds with even heavier drugs and antibiotics!

    Furthermore, when an animal or a bird stands and crouches in its sewage, the solids and liquid of the waste material get into its hair and its skin (and are absorbed even deeper into the inner tissues). When the animal or bird is later slaughtered, even though it will be cleaned, it is inevitable that some amount of that waste material will not get washed off and will remain stuck behind. Then, when the animal or bird will be sent through the machines to process it for food, especially if the process is going to chopping it up to make ground meat, those bits of remaining waste material will be mixed up and absorbed in with the meat!!

  6. Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tazria
    Time: 3:22 Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of previous comment)

    Until now, we have mentioned in detail the poisons, diseases, and ruinations of our health that result from these over obsessions with food appearance and taste. The further truth is that with all of these obsessions, we are not even enjoying the food! That’s right! We are NOT enjoying the world!

    When I first consulted one of the top specialists in the field of nutritional medicine, this is one of the items that he initially showed me. Studies of children’s behavior showed that when kids are given real strawberries to eat, they don’t like them! This phenomenon is completely understandable, for when kids think of “strawberries,” they think of “strawberry ICE CREAM”! Yes, they think of strawberry ice cream, with its pink (artificial) color and numerous flavorings and heavy sugar. So when they are given regular strawberries, which obviously do not look or taste like that, they think that something is wrong!!

    So again, with all of the endless arrays of items that we are adding to our food, we are forgetting to — we are forgetting HOW TO — enjoy the food itself!!

    Furthermore, with the deadly poisons of the numerous pesticides that are poured onto our food, how can we even expect our strawberries or our blueberries or our purple berries or our (any kind of) berries or any kind of food to taste good????

    A few days ago, at, there was a most amazing article. It related that since so many of our produce items, especially vegetables, taste so terrible, scientists are developing a pill for people to take that will prevent them from tasting the bitter taste!

    That is very nice, but what about the most obvious and simple of solutions?? Just stop all of the pesticides!! Have you ever eaten organically produced (without any pesticides or other chemicals) vegetables?? Boruch HaShem, I have; I can tell you that (organic) vegetables — corn, peas, string beans, broccoli — DO taste, very good!! Have you ever tasted an organic orange or an organic tangerine or organic grapes??? Well, when you do, you will realize that there is no need at all for any candy or ice cream or whatever!!

  7. Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tazria
    Time: 3:25 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of previous comment)

    To their great credit, many people are not happy about this situation. They have thus made remarkable vast accomplishments in re-establishing the formation of all kinds of naturally and organically grown and processed foods. However, the toxic methods of modern food production have now for many decades become the established norms. And the (toxic oriented) gigantic super companies of modern agriculture — cynically called “agri-business” — hold a tightly controlled monopoly on the food production industry. They, and their cousins in the corporations of the modern chemical industry and their other cousins in the corporations of the modern pharmaceutical industry and their other cousins in the associations of the modern medical world, all have immeasurably immense influence in the halls of government when the government sets policies, standards, AND regulations. Yes, this IS (a case of) the “Golden Rule”: “HE WHO HAS THE GOLD, (HE IS THE ONE WHO) MAKES THE RULES!!!!”

    So those people who are trying to go back to the original non-toxic ways, are, now viewed as the ones who are “different”!! They are thus ridiculed as being “backwards,” “unscientific,” “health kooks,” and “environmental nuts.” They are condemned that they “break the law” and “threaten the stability” of our food supply! In many instances, they are thus heavily harassed and abused by various governmental law enforcement agencies and forced out of business!

    (Much of the information in the above discussion comes from the superb documentary film titled “Food, Inc.”; see

    A major cause of how all this can happen, is as we elaborated, this problem of a society that has totally discarded the values and wisdom of the Torah.

  8. Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Tazria
    Time: 3:27 PM Pacific Standard Time

    (continuation of previous comment)

    We are now only a few minutes away from the Yom Tov of Pesach. It is a time when HaShem greatly curtails our indulgence in food, in that we cannot have any Chometz items. So the “bread” that we eat then has to be non-Chometz bread, which is called “Matzah.” It is made of ONLY the grain flour and water — nothing else! When it is baked, it is not even allowed to rise; that would be what is called Chometz.

    So this Matzah-bread that we get to eat on Pesach is a flat thin piece of baked flour and water — totally plain!

    Perhaps, one of the lessons that HaShem is teaching us on Pesach is that, yes, certainly we CAN eat; more than that, we are REQUIRED to eat! However, for what we eat, go back to the basics: flour and water, no added colorings, no added flavorings, no added anything. The truth is, that when we will eat the Matzah, we will realize that eating a piece of plain, hard baked flour and water IS enjoyable. We will say it even stronger: When we will eat the Matzah, we will really start enjoying this world, for, for the first time, we will enjoy eating plain four and water!

    The central theme of the Yom Tov of Pesach is that of “Cheirus” – “Freedom.” One of the key ways by which we acquire this freedom is by this Mitzva of eating Matzah. For this Mitzva is that we eat — and enjoy eating — a piece of plain flour and water and cut out all the extras; this Mitzva is that we cut out all of the DISTORTIONS of eating. When we do this, we are freed from and protected from all of the harmful poisons and diseases and ruinations of our health that are caused by these distortions. When we do this, we are further freed from all of the — yes, SLAVERY — to the abusive economic manipulations and virulent government harassment that are caused by these distortions.