Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food Dyes, ADHD and child custody

The Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI] calls food dyes the secret shame of Food Industry and Regulators, and urges Food and Drug Administration [FDA] to ban artificial food dyes linking them to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children.

Yellow 5, Red 40, and six other widely used artificial colorings have been linked to hyperactivity and behavior problems in children and should be prohibited from use in foods, according to the nonprofit CSPI. The group has formally petitioned the FDA to ban the dyes, several of which are already being phased out in the United Kingdom. The other six dyes are Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red 3, and Yellow 6.

In the 1970s Dr. Ben Feingold, a San Francisco allergist, reported that his patients improved when their diets were changed to eliminate food containing these artificial colourings.[1] Since that time additional studies throughout the world have also concluded that artificial colourings are contributors to childhood behavioural problems.

Sugar was long suspected to be the culprit of childhood hyperactivity which is still one of those falsities that are spread around like sitting to close to the TV will cause you to go cross-eyed. Sugar is more of a benign component that accompanies the true culprit, synthetic colourings, in many foods marketed to children such as cereals like Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms, Trix and Froot Loops.

Also suspected is the preservative sodium benzoate. The CSPI has reported that sodium benzoate has been linked to cell damage and to an increased risk for cancer.[2] Sodium benzoate is found in Coca-Cola, Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi, and was in many fruit drinks until manufacturers pulled it under threat of lawsuit. Other food additives are dangerous and are contained in nearly all prepared foods, especially those targeted towards children.

The dangerous additives are used to simulate the color of fruits or vegetables in foods like Kraft's Guacamole Dip, which gets its greenish color from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 not avocados, and Aunt Jemima Blueberry Waffles, which are blue thanks to Red 40 and Blue 2, not real blueberries. These are not there because of an actual need although the FDA states they are to maintain or improve safety, nutritional value, freshness, taste, texture and appearance.[3] Yet, more than a dozen American varieties of Kraft's Oscar Meyer Lunchables kids' meals contain artificial food dyes, but not so the British versions. So much for safety.

Americans' exposure to artificial food dyes has risen sharply. According to the FDA, the amount of food dye certified for use was 12 milligrams per capita per day in 1955. In 2007, 59 mg per capita per day, or nearly five times as much, was certified for use. You may think that the FDA is there to protect consumers but such is not the case. Lobbyist for the medical industry have pushed through devices the jeopardize consumers just as the food and drug manufacturers have.[4]

The harm to children or adults caused by these dangerous food additives is not coincidental nor is it based upon any actual need. The fact is that the decision to harm children is a very profitable one for the food and drug industry. Through outright ownership of through strategic joint ventures the food and drug giants are financially bound to each other.[5,6]

I have always called 'harming children for dollars' the most profitable business scheme in the world. In this instance many people are profiting. This includes the marketing firms that design the visuals for the food packages who use psychology research firms who form the studies of children and their reactions to colours. Then there is the food processing giants who add chemicals to the food for an artificially created treatable condition such as ADHD that can be treated through drugs supplied by their partnership corporations. One of the drugs to treat ADHD is Methamphetamine. All of this is being done to get the drugs into your child and the money out of your wallet.

Involving your child in such a profit scheme is clearly abuse. The Indiana Code relating to the factors to be considered in a child custody decision include the health of the child and the relationship between the child and the parent. In a custody battle the food you feed to your child could then become an issue of abuse. I have previously written about obtaining a record of food purchases in Store Loyalty Cards and Child Custody which can be used to show if you are feeding harmful foods to your child. Add to that using discovery to gain your financial records that show you own shares in a mutual fund with holdings such as Unilever, or any of the other food and drug companies operating in these alliances, and there is a case to show that you abuse your child for profit.

The best way to protect your child and ensure that you are acting in your child's best interest is to avoid foods with artificial colourings and preservatives. Many of these are high in cost and low in nutritional value anyway.

[1] Feingold, BF. The American Journal of Nursing, 1975 May;75(5):797-803.
[2] Chemical Cuisine: A Guide to Food Additives, CSPI, May 2008.
[3] Food Ingredients and Colors, International Food Information Council (IFIC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, November 2004.
[4] Political Lobbying Drove FDA Process, The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2009.
[5] British pharma company strikes deal with Unilever on weight-loss product, AFP, London, 2004-12-15.
[6] Vectura and UV announce spin-out of PharmaKodex, May 2006.

Stuart Showalter

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©2008, 2009 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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