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March 11, 2013
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Kristen James: What's in our food

Did you know some countries ban the use of Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 food dye in food? These are known to cause cancer.

There are many studies showing that food dyes cause all kinds of harm, and yet you’ll find them listed on almost every product in the grocery store here.

The United States is not one of the countries that bans artificial food dyes. There are companies that use food dye in their American version while supplying an all-natural version in other countries. I’ve known this for a couple of years now, and just today saw another article on the topic, “The War Against Macaroni and Cheese: Petition Asks Kraft to Remove Artificial Dyes.”

I’ve been watching food labels for several years, looking at more than fat or sugar content. When I first began researching how to help my son’s allergies, asthma and ADD, I saw article after article about how things in food we eat every day can hurt certain people. I knew that if he ate a Pop Tart, he went from my son Caleb to the Tasmanian Devil — he’d spin into a hyper talking machine. I looked at the ingredients of the white Pop Tarts and was shocked to see a very long list of food dyes. It’s white! Why would they need all those food dyes and preservatives?

My son started a gluten-free diet, which helped tremendously, but I also keep him away from artificial food dye, preservatives, artificial sugars and soda pop except for the rare treat. I can see a huge difference in his behavior if he ingests any of these.

After researching these ingredients, I try to buy products for my entire family that don’t use them, or corn syrup, if I can help it.

I’m still surprised that other countries are working to have safer food while the United States is behind. In fact, there are companies petitioning to use more of these harmful ingredients… in products sold to schools.

I kid you not.

According to The Federal Register, “International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the Agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient.” Read more on this here.

The interesting thing about the petition is that it asks permission to add “safe and suitable sweeteners” but then lists aspartame and other sweeteners that are now shown to cause diabetes and other diseases. I read an article the other day that stated drinking one diet soda a week raises your risk of Type 2 Diabetes by 15 percent.

Another strange aspect of the petition is that the companies want permission to NOT list the artificial sweeteners. They don’t want to label the milk as being lower in sugar or calories because the children would not like that, according to their argument.

If you would like to tell the FDA what you think about this, you can do so on a government website here.

Our best bet is to stay educated and check what’s in our food. If you’re concerned about price, Sherms has a big section of natural and affordable foods. Many list what type of natural food coloring they use, if any, such as beet juice.

As for me, I’ll save the artificial dye for my Easter Eggs, not my kids’ food!

Kristen James is married with six children. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal website here.

If he ate a Pop-Tart, he went from my son Caleb to the Tasmanian Devil.


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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:29PM Published Mar 19, 2013 08:25AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.