Europe requires child food dye warnings

July 20, 2010 at 10:46 PM

WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) -- Foods containing artificial food dyes contain a warning label in Europe and a U.S. non-profit advocacy group says the United States should follow suit.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington says beginning Tuesday in the European Union, most foods that contain artificial food dyes must have warning labels that the food "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children."

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the CSPI, says numerous studies conducted during the last three decades proved that some children's behavior is worsened by artificial dyes and a meta-analysis in 2004 concluded artificial dyes affect children's behavior.

"At this point, American food manufacturers and regulators alike should be embarrassed that we're feeding kids foods with chemicals that have such a powerfully disruptive impact on children's behavior," Jacobson says in a statement. "European officials are taking the issue much more seriously, and are moving toward a safer food supply as a result."

The topping for a McDonald's Strawberry Sundae sold in the United States contains Red 40, but in Britain, the the topping's color comes from strawberries, Jacobson said.

CSPI filed a regulatory petition in 2008 for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban dyes because of the health problems documented in children.

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