Yesterday I had the television news on while I was cleaning upstairs (what is it about throwing a party that causes us to clean every nook and cranny in the house?) and I caught a news segment about a consumer advocacy group that was lobbying the FDA to ban eight artificial food color additives. Apparently the FDA is standing firm on its opinion that these food additives cause no harm and they will not ban them.
Many people will agree with the FDA and say that if small numbers of children are affected by certain food additives, then their parents should not buy those products, or not feed them to those particular children. And, in some ways, those folks would be right. However, being the parent of a child with serious food allergies, I happen to know just how hard it is to read all the labels of every package I pick up in the grocery store, and then say "no" to all those that contain the offensive items. It sucks. If I had a nickle for every time I had to shake my head "no" when my son asked if a treat was safe, I could by you a steak dinner.
And food dye is not in the same nutritional ballpark as peanuts and tree nuts. Who, exactly, thinks food dye is a good idea? When no. 2 son and I were working on that report I mentioned yesterday, we read quite a bit about harmful food additives. Food additives are actually a fairly new thing -- meaning, historically, food additives didn't exist for the most part. They came on the scene when food began being processed -- back when transportation advances allowed food to be prepared in one region of the country and shipped to other regions of the country. Prior to that time, food spoiled too quickly to transport it. But when foods began being processed, manufacturers started adding chemicals that made them look good and taste good long after they would if they had been baked in your kitchen (think Twinkie here). At that time, people didn't know that these additives could be harmful. Or if they suspected it, the potential damage was so minor compared to other dangers at that time that they gave little notice. So, what's a little food color?
Well, today we have enough health issues to worry about without adding food dye to the mix. I know we can learn to live with macaroni and cheese that is not neon orange, and cereals with a little less rainbow in them. How 'bout you?