Fifty years after Dr. Feingold first observed that food dyes can trigger behavior problems in sensitive people, the public is getting the message.

 

A survey taken earlier this year by Kalsec, a company that makes colors and flavors, found that about 80% of U.S. and U.K. parents of children ages 3 to 12 are concerned about the use of synthetic dyes in food and drinks for children. The parents are aware of the link between the dyes and behavior problems, including ADHD. 83% of the parents preferred foods without the dyes, and 70% were willing to pay more for them.

 

A minority of food manufacturers are motivated by a mission to provide quality products, but the larger firms follow the money. Now, they are seeing those consumer dollars going to “clean” labels — foods without the dyes, synthetic flavors, fake sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup and GMOs.

 

In an article titled, “The End of Junk?” Tom Philpott writes, “Americans are craving healthier snacks — and Big Food wants a piece of the pie.” The market shares of huge food companies has declined since 2009, with a loss of $18 billion in sales. While many of the food giants are taking baby steps in the right direction by removing some of the harmful additives, it won’t be enough for the well-educated shopper, but at least it will mean that the general population will be ingesting fewer petrochemicals. The other way major companies are cashing in onthe growing preference for healthy food is to buy up the small, health-oriented companies, a trend that has been going on for many years.

 

Drugs for little kids despite the growing awareness of the effects of synthetic additives, the drug industry continues to enjoy huge profits from the sale of their products. In April, the Journal of Pediatrics published data showing that 11% of the children in the United States received a diagnosis of ADHD, and 74% of them were on medication. In children under the age of 6, the data shows that 46.6% of the children had taken ADHD drugs.(Since the information was based upon a 2009-2010 survey, it is possible that the numbers today are much higher.) The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that the effects of drugs on young children are not known. Ileana Arias, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted, “We do not know what the long-term effects of psychotropic medications are on the developing brains of little kids.”