Friday, May 1, 2009

What does "color added" mean?

I was asked this question by a reader who follows my blog and I thought it would be a good discussion topic. I found a link to the FDA requirements for added colors. My understanding of the topic is that food manufacturers have to list the numbered dyes (red#40, yellow #5, yellow #6, etc) What bothers me is that it sounds like we are trusting the honesty of the food companies to disclose the numbered dyes. I have called various food companies to ask what "color added" means. I often find that those answering the phones do not understand what I am asking, do not know how to pronounce the names of the ingredients I am asking about, and have generally not been helpful. I have been assured that it is not a numbered dye. I have often been told that the person on the phone cannot access further information about origins of the added color. Hmmmm. I guess my take is that if they can't tell me what the real ingredients are, I'm not feeding it to my family.

The Feingold folks also mention this as a concern. In their Feingold Program Details they and suggest avoiding anything listed as "color added" as well as artificially colored or other such terms. Further surch of the Feingold site brought up answers to this question from a 1987 newsletter. Doesn't anyone else wonder why they never tell you this at the pediatrician or when you start reading all the baby toddler books about what is best for you child?

After googling I found another link about color added to Alaskan salmon.

If you really want all the nitty gritty denials from the FDA on color additives you can check the link. But they also deny any risk of color additives exists. So don't read what's there if you aware of any of the recent research because you'll only end up more frustrated. They seem to think thousands of parents just don't know their kids and suggest that removing of additives or going on elimination diets should not be a standard approach for treating ADHD. Hmmm. Do you think anyone paid them off to say that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This following information is from the dvd "Latest in Clinical Nutrition 2009" by Michael Greger, M.D.
"Color added" on a food label means a cochineal beetle extract is used. So the color is derived from an insect. Although the bugjuice is a natural substance it causes allergic reactions in many people (they had to visit the emergency room). FDA refused to ban it but from 2011 on it has to be listed in a more clear way on the food label. It is used by the food manufacturers to rplace red dye#3 which was banned due to its carcinogenic properties.