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.