If you’ve ever eaten candy from a European Union country, you might notice some unusual ingredients.
For instance, Nestlé’s chocolate “Smarties” contain radish, lemon and red cabbage extracts for coloring, rather than yellow six or red 40. So why is that?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has a petition calling on the American-based candy manufacturer Mars, Inc., maker of M&M’s chocolate candies, to stop using artificial dyes in their products. They’ve also petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to regulate food dyes more strictly.
The FDA released the following statement:
“For certain susceptible children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other problem behaviors…the data suggest that their condition may be exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.
In 2011 an FDA advisory committee conducted meetings on whether there is a link between food dyes and hyperactivity in children. The Committee concluded that (1) there is no causal link between children’s consumption of synthetic color additives and adverse behavioral effects based on the available data, (2) additional labeling information is unnecessary and (3) additional research should be conducted to further investigate potential developmental and behavioral effects in children from exposure to these substances.”
Currently, the FDA is gathering data on amounts of color additives used in food. These data will be used to estimate dietary exposure for the U.S. population and various population subgroups, including children.
Michael Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, joins Here & Now’s Sacha Pfeiffer to discuss the potential dangers of artificial dyes and the organization’s initiative to remove them from American candies.