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Since the 1970's numerous studies have shown a link between food dyes and hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in kids. For almost four decades the FDA has disputed such assertions by claiming that color additives undergo safety reviews prior to approval. But in actuality the FDA does not test artificial dyes, but instead requires the manufacturers to list the ingredients on its label and to do animal testing on their own with repeated exposure to determine whether dyes cause harmful effects.
Although the FDA reports that some individuals are sensitive to Yellow #5 and break out in hives, the agency does not agree with the conclusions about ADHD or asthma or for that matter hyperactivity (that has been asserted in dozens of studies over the years). Recently the issue resurfaced when a consumer advocacy group known as the Center for Science in the Public Interest called for the FDA to outright ban their use…
A research study at Southampton University found a statistically significant link between hyperactive behavior and the consumption of certain artificial colors, including Red 40 and Yellow 5. The petition to the FDA by the Center for Science in the Public Interest is specifically citing the colors included in these findings. In Europe this study moved The European Food Safety Authority to acknowledge a "limited evidence" of a link between dyes and hyperactivity. This recognition motivated the U.K's Food Standards Agency to recommend that by the end of 2009, food manufacturers should stop using several artificial colors. It also called for the UK to lobby for a Europe-wide ban.