Californian Call to Introduce Food Dye Warning Labels

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17 Feb 2017 --- Similar to the labels already used in the UK and around Europe, California is pushing for a warning label bill on synthetic food containing dyes and colorings. 

Citing mounting scientific evidence that synthetic food dyes contained in child-oriented food products trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in some children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioral disorders, State Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) introduced Senate Bill 504 earlier this week to require warning labels on all food containing synthetic dyes in California.

“It’s important for parents to have this information as they seek ways to help their children who suffer from behavioral problems,” Wieckowski said. “Raising awareness through warning labels will educate parents about the adverse effects of food dye and empower them to make better-informed choices when they are shopping.  

“These labels are in use in the European Union and Great Britain, and California parents deserve to be aware of the effects too.”

According to the senator, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acknowledged the growing body of evidence, concluding that “Exposure to food and food components, including artificial food colors and preservatives, may be associated with adverse behaviors, not necessarily related to hyperactivity, in certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, and possibly in susceptible children from the general population.” 

There’s a growing consensus among physicians and researchers that excluding food dyes and certain other foods reduces adverse behavior in some children, he added. 

“We hope California enacts the sensible and science-based legislation being introduced today,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), co-sponsor of the bill. “As long as the FDA is going to remain firmly planted on the sidelines, it makes perfect sense.”

“This modest disclosure helping parents make informed choices about what they feed their children is long overdue,” said Ed Howard, senior counsel at the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, a co-sponsor of SB 504.

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