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First-Ever Study Reveals Food Dyes in Brand-Name Foods

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Acknowledgment that food dyes (and other ingredients) cause behavioral problems in some children has spurred certain companies to remove dyes from some of their foods. However, until a new study by Purdue University scientists, the amounts of dyes in packaged foods has been a secret.

Published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, the research reports on the dye content of scores of breakfast cereals, candies, baked goods and other foods. According to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the findings are disturbing, since the amounts of dyes found in even single servings of numerous foods -- or combinations of several dyed foods -- are higher than the levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair some children's behavior.

Unprecedented test results now published

Clinical trials have shown that modest percentages of children are affected by doses up to 35 mg of mixtures of synthetic coloring, with larger percentages generally being affected by doses of 100 mg or more. It is unknown what amount of dye triggers reactions in the most sensitive children.

General Mills' Trix cereal lists Yellow 6, Blue 1 and Red 40 on its ingredients list. It is now known that Trix has 36.4 milligrams of those chemicals. Fruity Cheerios had 31 mg of food dyes. Of all the cereals tested, the one with the most artificial dyes was Cap'n Crunch's Oops! All Berries, with 41 mg.

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