Friday, November 20, 2009

What Do "FD&C" and "D&C" Mean on Food and Drug Labels?

In my post on Tuesday about artificial colorings in drugs (over-the-counter and prescription) I forgot to mention an important fact about these synthetic, petroleum-derived(!) dyes.

If you read drug labels closely, you’ll see that the artificial colors are often preceded with “FD&C” or “D&C.” On food labels, the dyes are sometimes preceded by “FD&C.” I would guess most of us don’t know what these two codes mean.

“FD&C” means that the colorants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in food, drugs and cosmetics. “D&C” signifies the colors can be used in drugs and cosmetics, but not food.

Am I the only one who thinks this defies logic?

Jane Hersey, the director of the Feingold Association (which works to alert people of the dangers of artificial colors and other synthetic additives) summed up the irony in an e-mail she wrote to me on Wednesday:

“Disturbing is the fact that medicines are permitted to use dyes that have been banned from use in foods. If they're too harmful to eat, how can they be safe to give to a sick child?”

Well said, Jane.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

D&C colors are only approved for external use on drugs. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Food,_Drug,_and_Cosmetic_Act#Food_coloring

Anonymous said...

D&C colors are only approved for external use on drugs. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Food,_Drug,_and_Cosmetic_Act#Food_coloring

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Anonymous said...

methadose concentrate has fd&c no.40 as well as d&c no.33, (I assure you all, I do not put it on my skin)However i do injest 166 mgs. every day and have for two years.I am in the hospital once weekly for nausea that cant be controlled by anti nausea meds such as zofran.(If i choose to go it is by ambulance,its the only transportation i have)ive talked to my methadone clinic as well as the idiots at san francisco's st.frances hospital,needless to say no results........any advice,I will be going deeper into this.Right now i need to drink the methadose that is pretty much killing me.I cant even look at it without getting nauseous.

eli lanning said...

You know, I literally feel your pain. I, myself was on 120mg of methadone for 2 1/2 years. During that time I experienced the most God awful "heartburn"/nausea imaginable! I always just blamed the methadone itself. I was only recently that I've discovered I'm allergic to Red#40 (all forms of red dye) found in food and medications. I've been on suboxone for about 5years now and again during this time I've had the worst time with nausea, heartburn, and headaches. Its insane! The heartburn isn't quite as bad as it was on methadone but the nausea and headaches are horrible! Like I said I've just found out about the red dye allergy so I've really been reading up on it. I've found out that a lot of orange colored things have red dye as well. What are we to do??? Why in the world must they dye our medication? Medicine is medicine. It doesn't matter what color it is, we need it! Sorry that I'm no help helping you solve your problem. It just always feels good to know you're not alone in this matter and the pharmaceutical companies really needs to address this issue! Good luck to you and your recovery!

eli lanning said...

I'm sorry I didn't respond it the right area and its been some time since your post but I did write below your blog

eli lanning said...

I'm sorry I didn't respond it the right area and its been some time since your post but I did write below your blog

Anonymous said...

The reason that they are approved in Drugs and not in food is because of the quantity that a normal human being would intake of a drug. You would at the most take 5-6 or 10 pills a day containing D&C colors. The amount is negligible as these colors are highly concentrated and for them to impart color to pills the dosage of the colors would be in PPM or PPB (parts per million or parts per billion). However the same is not the case with food. For coloring the food obviously the quantity of the same color will need to be a lot which will be more than the limit set by FDA. Hence in food these colors are not allowed whereas in Drugs they are. Hope the explanation is clear enough.

Anonymous said...

Makes perfect sense, however, if it is not safe to eat in any quantity why give it out period in any form? That part still dont make sense to me. But i feel that same way about medicine in general. Dont get me wrong I know some people need it, BUT i also KNOW there is a less toxic way and ive seen it first hand.