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Tag: FD&C Yellow No. 5

After doing a presentation for the Santa Barbara Girl Scouts, a troop leader came up to me with the empty box from a Lunchables package. She said she thought that given my presentation, I should see what was actually in this product. Notice how I used the word “product” instead of “food.” These are not interchangeable.  My goal with this post is not to make any parent feel bad about feeding their child Lunchables, but rather to open your eyes to what is actually in this item.

I started my research with on the Kraft Lunchables website. When I clicked on the picture of the Bologna + American Cracker Stacker with Juice, this is what it says:

Give them the good stuff. Made with Oscar Mayer bologna made with chicken and pork, Kraft American and Ritz Crackers. Includes Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters.

Nutritional Highlights

  • Excellent Source of Protein, Calcium
  • Crackers made with 5g Whole Grain per serving

Wow, protein, calcium and whole grains? This must be the “good stuff!” Or maybe not…
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In a disappointing (but perhaps not surprising) decision, the FDA panel that met earlier this week to discuss whether there is a link between children’s consumption of synthetic color additives and adverse effects on behavior, has determined there is not enough evidence to justify a warning label. It was a close vote (8 to 6 vote in favor of rejecting the warnings), but as they say ‘almost doesn’t count’. The panel did acknowledge that some children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be vulnerable to food colorings as well as a host of other food additives. To keep the food producers happy, though, they were quick to point out that those children have a unique intolerance to those additives, meaning there’s nothing ‘wrong’ per se with the additives, it’s simply the kids with the problem. Right. With the European Union already requiring warning labels on artificial food colorings, it makes us wonder what type of study would the FDA need to finally add a warning, and is such a study going to take place? I mean if they ruled based on lack of evidence, shouldn’t they do some more studies to get the evidence?

Sources:
Harvard Health Publications
Image: Jonas Dalidd

The FDA’s Food Advisory Committee will meet Wednesday and Thursday (March 30-31, 2011) in Silver Spring, MD, to discuss whether there is a link between children’s consumption of synthetic color additives and adverse effects on behavior. This meeting is in part a response to a petition filed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) on June 3, 2008.

The CSPI petitioned the FDA to:

  • Ban the use of Yellow 5 and other food dyes.
  • In the interim, require a warning on foods containing these dyes
  • Correct the information the FDA gives consumers on their website and other publications on the impact of these dyes on behavior of some children
  • Require neurotoxicity testing of new food additives and food colors

For years, the Feingold Association, CSPI, consumer groups, activists, and parents have been trying to prove the link between artificial food colorings and wide array of adverse effects including hyperactivity, ADHD, skin rashes, sleep disorders and exacerbated asthma. In 2007, a University of Southampton study concluded that a diet with artificial colors increased hyperactivity in children.  In response to the study, the European Union now requires warning labels on foods containing specific dyes. To avoid the dreaded label, many European manufactures reformulated products with natural food colorings or removed dyes all together. In the US, artificial food dyes are found in hundreds and thousands of processed foods and it is extremely difficult for people to avoid. It will be very interesting to see what the Food Advisory Committee’s conclusion is and whether they will make any revised statements on food dyes or new requirements of food manufactures.

Sources:
FDA
CSPI
Lancet
Image: Jonas Dalidd

A link between food colorings and hyperactivity highlights the importance of educational website, Be Food Smart.

Easter is the second top-selling candy holiday and according to the National Confectioners Association, almost 90% of parents will create Easter baskets for their children. Filling those baskets will be Marshmallow Peeps, Cadbury Crème Eggs, jelly beans, and M&M’s, all of which contain artificial food colorings. So what’s the concern with artificial colorings? In 2007, a University of Southampton study concluded that a diet with artificial colors increased hyperactivity in children. The European Union took action and now requires warning labels on foods containing specific dyes. To avoid the dreaded label, many European manufactures reformulated products with natural food colorings or removed dyes all together.
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This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back regularly to see new ingredients.

Happy New Year! Today’s ingredient is an artificial coloring which has been linked to headaches, skin rashes, hives and hyperactivity in children. Skip the mint chip ice cream and go for vanilla next time!

Tartrazine

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Names: FD&C Yellow No.5, Y4, E102

Uses: Coloring

Found In: candy, soft drinks, cereal, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream, pudding, snack foods, energy drinks, flavored chips, jam, yogurt, pickles, dessert powders, custard

Description: This lemon yellow dye is derived from coal tar. It’s used for yellow, but can be mixed with other colors such as Brilliant Blue to create shades of green. The FDA requires that Yellow No. 5 be specifically identified on the ingredient line because some people are very sensitive to it. Due to several studies on children and hyperactivity, the European Union requires food containing this colorant to have a label which states: “may have an adverse effect on activity in children” (see full report for link). Also see Food, Drug & Cosmetic Colors (FD&C).

Possible Health Effects: Serious allergic reactions can occur in those with sensitivities to aspirin. Other effects include: asthma, hives, headache, skin…read more on Tartrazine.

Related Ingredient: FD&C Blue #1

Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

If that soda can had a warning label which stated “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children,” would you give it to your child? This is the decision parents in the European Union (EU) now have. After numerous studies indicated that artificial food dyes caused behavioral and hyperactivity issues in children, the EU finally took action. On July 20, 2010 new food coloring legislation went into effect in the EU which requires special labeling of foods containing six colorants.

Here are the six offending dyes:

In the US, it is very difficult to avoid consuming synthetic food dyes. Virtually every type of brightly colored candy contains food coloring as does soda, sports drinks, cereals, packaged snacks and most medication designed for children.  Food colorings in general, whether artificial or natural, have one thing in common: They are added to the food ONLY to make it look more appealing. Now, I try to avoid processed snacks and junk food as best I can, but throw a few Red Vines, gummy sour watermelons, or Peanut M&Ms in my line of sight and watch my willpower crumble.
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