Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Food"

A great news release shared online by my friend:

"CSPI Urges FDA to Ban Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Behavior Problems"

The gist:
A comprehensive 2004 meta-analysis of the medical literature concluded that artificial dyes affect children's behavior, and two recent studies funded by the British government found that dyes (as well as the preservative sodium benzoate) adversely affect kids' behavior. Unlike most previous studies, those British studies tested children in the general population, not children whose parents suspected they were sensitive to dyes. As a result, the British government is successfully pressuring food manufacturers to switch to safer colorings.


The scary part:
Americans' exposure to artificial food dyes has risen sharply. According to the FDA, the amount of food dye certified for use was 12 milligrams per capita per day in 1955. In 2007, 59 mg per capita per day, or nearly five times as much, was certified for use. Dyes are used in countless foods and are sometimes used to simulate the color of fruits or vegetables. Kraft's Guacamole Dip gets its greenish color not from avocados (there are almost none) but from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1. The blue bits in Aunt Jemima Blueberry Waffles are blue thanks to Red 40 and Blue 2, not real blueberries.


The especially infuriating part--these companies can totally do without the dyes!
More than a dozen American varieties of Kraft's Oscar Meyer Lunchables kids' meals contain artificial food dyes, but not so the British versions. Starburst Chews, Skittles, and M&M candies—all Mars products—contain the full spectrum of artificial colors in the U.S., but not in the U.K., where the company uses natural colorings. Even foods that aren't particularly brightly colored can contain dyes, including several varieties of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. Betty Crocker's Au Gratin "100% Real" Potatoes are partly not real, colored as they are with Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, both derived from coal tar. Remarkably, in Britain, the color in McDonald's strawberry sauce for sundaes actually comes from strawberries; in the U.S. it comes from Red 40.

I agree with the mom who is shocked at the FDA... except I'm not really shocked because the FDA notoriously allows all kinds of horrible things to go into and be done to our food... or should I say "food."

This is just like how toys made for the US often have had dangerous plastic parts, whereas the same toys made for Europe are safer. The USA is so crazy stupid about some things!

This is the one line I won't cross, when it comes to what we eat, and what Sophie eats. It's got to be actual food. Sometimes it can be processed, like refined white sugar (but not high fructose corn syrup, because how they process that is especially disgusting, and it's especially bad for you), or white flour, but it's got to at least start as food, not coal tar!

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