- Dr. Susan T. MayneDirector, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Tell the FDA to Ban Harmful Synthetic Food Dyes
A number of studies -- and an emerging scientific consensus -- demonstrate that some children experience episodes of inattention, hyperactivity, and other harmful behavioral effects following exposure to synthetic dyes. Many of these dyes, including Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, require warning labels in Europe because of adverse health effects. Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to act to ban these cheap, synthetic chemicals with no nutritional or essential value from food. Please sign our petition asking the FDA to ban synthetic food dyes in the United States, and, in the meantime, to require a warning label on dye-containing foods and beverages.
Thousands of parents of affected kids confirm these findings and have sent our organization emails detailing their families’ struggles to identify that dyes are the cause and help their children. These dyes are sold in products like Fruity Pebbles, Hawaiian Punch, Kool-Aid, and many others lining the shelves of grocery stores. We need members of the public to tell FDA to ban dyes and, in the meantime, to require a warning label on dye-containing foods and beverages to let parents know of the issue.
Given how widespread dyes are in food, public pressure on the FDA and companies that use dyes is the best way to win this fight.
Consumers have used Change.org and other social media channels to successfully communicate these concerns to major companies, and as a result of this advocacy Kraft removed artificial dyes from Mac & Cheese products, Taco Bell and Panera eliminated these dyes, and General Mills and Mars announced they’re doing away with them as well!
Banning dyes is an achievable step that will improve the safety of the food supply, and we believe members of Congress and consumers will be able to successfully pressure the FDA to take decisive action to remove these dyes from our food system.
In Europe, most synthetic dyes dropped out of the food supply after the European Union required a sensible, clear warning notice on foods containing dyes, based on studies done in the United Kingdom that showed the harmful effects of dyes on kids. Yet many companies that removed dyes from foods in Europe continue to sell the same foods in the United States with the artificial dyes still in them!
As detailed in our recent report, Seeing Red: Time for Action on Food Dyes, studies show that susceptible children—which may number more than half-a-million in the U.S.—experience episodes of inattention, hyperactivity, or other behavioral effects, after consuming foods containing synthetic dyes. In addition, recent research has revealed far higher levels of dyes in commonly consumed foods than was previously thought.
Please sign our petition and share it with your family and friends.
- Food and Drug Administration
- Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Dr. Susan T. Mayne
We, the undersigned, strongly urge the Food and Drug Administration to ban synthetic dyes from food and beverages given the substantial evidence that dyes harm susceptible children.
FDA should immediately withdraw approval for the use of dyes. Pending such a decision, it should require warning labels on dyed foods and drinks that clearly inform families and children that dyes can trigger negative behaviors in children. FDA should also correct misleading information on its website and materials that now indicate dyes are “safe.”
Dyes serve no nutritional or other essential purpose in food. All children deserve every chance to grow, thrive, and learn, and dyes, which are widespread in foods marketed to kids, impede their success.
We urge FDA to end the needless suffering of children and families from the use of synthetic dyes in food.
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