Food Dyes, ADHD and FDA Recommendations

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has just decided that there is not enough evidence that food dyes bring about ill effects in adults and children. The FDA will not recommend a removal of food dyes from foods produced in the United States.

The advisory committee reported that there were no good studies linking food dyes to Attention Deficit Disorder or to any other medical problem. They stated that all the studies that linked food dyes to Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms were either too small to be significant or that the studies were poorly executed. The advisory group decided that the studies that were available could not be used to make recommendations.

They stated that the Lancet study that I spoke about in the previous food dye and ADHD symptoms post was flawed because it did not isolate the food dyes from the preservative sodium benzoate. The advisory committee did not say that the ADHD symptoms were not brought on by the foods in the Lancet study, they just thought that it was uncertain that it was the food dyes that caused these symptoms. The committee said that it could have been the sodium benzoate or the combination of the food dyes with the sodium benzoate

Well the way that I see it is either the food dyes are causing ADHD symptoms, or the preservative are causing the symptoms or the combination is the problem. The safest thing to do would be to remove them all, right?

Doing nothing, in my opinion, if they believe that either the sodium benzoate or the food dyes are causing ADHD symptoms, the FDA should pull both until they deem these additives to be safe. The answers to the question of what is causing ADHD symptoms does need to be sorted out but not while we are continuing to eat this stuff!

I would like to trust the advisory committee but I thought that  the Lancet study findings were pretty compelling and I do not follow the reasoning for not taking a cautious stance.

Anyway the bottom line is that we will have to continue to carefully monitor our ADD kid's diet and our own diets.  We need to carefully read food labels and avoid these dyes in our foods. It would be a lot easier if we could go to the grocery store knowing that these additives are not lurking in our grocery carts but, for the foreseeable future, that is not in the cards.


  1. It's so sad how we protect corporate profits instead of our children's wellbeing.

  2. My 10 year old son gets hives from food dyes, so we have been avoiding them for a long time. I was disappointed that the FDA did not take action on this. It is not easy to avoid this stuff and is really frustrating for our son sometimes because so many candies have food dye.


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