(CBS) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun looking into the possible link between food coloring and hyperactive behavior in children.
An FDA advisory panel met on Wednesday to examine whether current research shows a connection to the disorder and what, if anything, needs to be done.
CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist reports on what you need to know.
Caroline Ganim said she is convinced her son David would get hyper and ill after eating artificially dyed food.
She said she remembers a bad reaction after he ate maraschino cherries when he was a kid.
“David started to eat them and, within moments, his behavior turned for the worse completely,” Ganim said.
He was later diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Now, the FDA is considering whether there is a real link between food coloring and the disorder, and whether new warning labels should be placed on the foods kids love, like popular cereals and even macaroni and cheese.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has said that food warnings should be just the beginning. It wants a ban on artificial dyes.
“We believe the evidence is strong enough to warrant getting these worthless substances out of the food supply and simply replacing them with natural colorings, if colorings are needed to be added at all,” said CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson.
The synthetic food dyes in question such as Yellow Dye #5 and Red Dye #40 are petroleum based. Industry officials have said the science isn’t there to back up the negative claims.
Many public health experts agree, saying the dyes don’t appear to cause hyperactivity, but might make the symptoms worse. .
“They get inflammation and autoimmune reactions that are manifested as behavioral, attention-focusing disruptions in the individual,” said Dr. Marvin Boris, an allergist, immunologist and pediatrician
Ganim’s son is now grown up and she said he still avoids many foods “Because it impacts the total quality of his life, socially, emotionally, academically, physically.
It’s now up to the FDA to determine what the next step should be.
The panel meets again on Thursday. It will recommend whether the FDA should further regulate dyes, do more studies, or require better labeling on foods.