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Use Of Artificial Colors Less Prevalent In Dairy Products Marketed To Kids Than Other Foods
Artificial food colors are common in packaged foods marketed to children, although they are less common in the cheese/yogurt/milk category than most other food and beverage categories, according to new research published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.
The study was written by Ameena Batada, DrPH, of the University of North Carolina Asheville, and Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Artificial food colors, as distinguished from color additives derived from natural materials, have been commonly used in foods, drugs, and cosmetics in the US since the early 1900s, the study noted. Common color additives include Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, which together account for 90 percent of all artificial color additives used.
Research over the past several decades indicates that artificial food colors (AFCs) may be carcinogenic and/or neurotoxic, the study stated. Studies also suggest that AFCs are related to attention-related behaviors in children.
This study found that, overall, 810 different products in one major supermarket in a mid-size city in North Carolina were marketed to children. Of those 810 products, 350 (43.2 percent) contained AFCs.
The category with the highest proportion of products containing AFCs was candies (96.3 percent of products), followed by fruit-flavored snacks (94.7 percent), drink mixes/powders (89.7 percent), and frozen breakfasts (85.7 percent). Nineteen of the 20 product categories contained at least two products with AFCs.
For only four categories were AFCs present in less than 20 percent of products: canned/packaged pastas and soups (19 percent), ice cream and cones (16 percent), cheese/yogurt/milk (12 percent), and produce (0 percent).
Red 40 was the most frequently used AFC, present in 29.8 percent of the products marketed to children.
The percentage of products containing Red 40 ranged from 4 percent of cheese/yogurt/milk items to 89.5 percent of fruit-flavored snack items.
Blue 1 was present in 24.2 percent of the products marketed to children, with the percentage of products containing Blue 1 ranging from 7.7 percent of packaged cakes to 89.5 percent of fruit-flavored snacks.
Blue 1 was not present in cheese/yogurt/milk, canned/packaged pastas and soups, or produce, the study found.
Yellow 5 was present in 20.5 percent of the products marketed to children, with the percentage of products containing Yellow 5 ranging from 6.4 percent of toothpaste/mouthwas/vitamins to 86.8 percent of fruit-flavored snacks. Yellow 5 was not present in cheese/yogurt/milk or produce.
Yellow 6 was present in 19.5 percent of the products marketed to children, with the percentage of products containing AFCs ranging from 5.1... Send me more information