Friday, April 1, 2011

F.D.A. Panel Comes Up Doughnuts (with Colored Sprinkles)

To no one’s surprise, the Food and Drug Administration panel that met Wednesday and Thursday decided that petroleum-based artificial colorants are safe and that warnings are not needed on foodstuffs that contain the synthetic dyes.

Jane Hersey, the Director of the Feingold Association, which raises awareness of the potential role of artificial colors, preservatives and other synthetic additives in behavioral, learning and health problems, predicted this outcome when I spoke with her in early March.

Yet, we shouldn’t be completely disappointed. That the F.D.A. actually held a hearing on the issue and that The New York Times and other media outlets covered it will only heighten the public’s knowledge about artificial colors and their possible link to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

It’s obvious that our modern food supply is full of broken and unnecessary parts, whether it be artificial colors, pesticides, antibiotics, refined sugars, BPA, GMO's, etc. As awareness grows about these issues and their connection to our collective poor health and lowered intelligence, the pushback from a concerned population will become stronger and stronger.

The bottom line is the bottom line, and most of the food companies understand the power of public sentiment. Reformulation of products is not unheard of, as Pepperidge Farm proved by moving to natural colors for its colored goldfish.

I wholeheartedly believe that if we—as individuals—make better purchasing decisions (and tell a friend to do the same), we—as a group—can force public policy changes that no F.D.A. panel has the balls to make.

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