Erica Reid and Latham Thomas are friends who share a passion for healthy living and nurturing children. Now they share one more thing: a Care2 petition to Kellogg’s asking the food giant to take food dyes out of its fruit snacks.
Moms have made the mistake of giving kids fruit snacks thinking that they actually contained fruit and that they were healthier options than candy. But it’s not true that fruit snacks are healthier.
“I was absolutely one of those moms who gave both of my children fruit snacks thinking it was better than candy,” said Erica, who is also author of The Thriving Child. “At the time, I wasn’t aware of the potential harm from food dyes and didn’t think twice because the word ‘fruit’ was attached. Now, I know better.”
Artificial food dyes, which are found in everything from candy and sodas to baked goods, salad dressings, frozen desserts, have been linked to allergy-like effects and hyperactivity in some kids; cancer is also a concern. For example, Kellogg’s Toy Story Fruit Flavored Snacks contain the artificial food dyes Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1. These colors have been shown to cause allergy-like effects. Additionally, Yellow 5 and Red 40 may be contaminated with cancer-causing agents, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“Artificial food dyes have been linked to hyperactivity, allergies and cancer, yet they are found everywhere from beverages to snack foods. For optimal health, parents would be well-advised to limit the amount of food dyes their children consume,” said Alan Greene, M.D., a noted pediatrician, author of Raising Baby Green and founder of DrGreene.com.
Latham, a holistic lifestyle expert and Founder of MamaGlow.com says, “Our children are consuming packaged foods and even with proper guidance, it’s hard for them to avoid the synthetic dyes, specifically in foods marketed to them. We are asking Kellogg’s to remove artificial food dyes from their fruit flavored snacks because not only do these products contain food dyes, but all the kids’ favorite cartoon characters and superheroes are on the box, making it that much harder to say no.”
Consider these facts about food dyes:
- About 15 million pounds of petroleum-based dyes are used in food each year. Since 1955, there has been a five-fold increase in food dye consumption.
- Food dyes have been linked to hyperactivity, aggression, asthma, irritability and poor sleep in children, according to a report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
- Red 3 is a known carcinogen that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned from cosmetics and medicines in 1990, but it’s still used in foods.
Kellogg’s already makes artificial dye-free fruit snacks for children in Britain, but that dye-free option is not available in the United States. Why? British officials were so concerned by the scientific studies linking artificial food dyes to behavioral issues in children that they required manufacturers to place a warning label on foods made with food dyes. The label reads, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
The threat of the warning label forced many manufacturers to pull artificial dyes from products and instead use natural colors. But those companies, including Kellogg’s, Mars (maker of M&Ms, Skittles, and other candies) and Kraft, still use artificial dyes in foods sold to kids in the United States.
We believe Kellogg’s can do better. As Erica and Latham wrote to Kellogg’s CEO & President John A. Bryant, “We don’t want to live in a world without colors. Or snacks. But let’s do it naturally.”
Healthy Child Healthy World couldn’t agree more. Please share the petition to Kellogg’s with your friends, family, and community. Working together, we can get Kellogg’s to remove the artificial food dyes from children’s fruit snacks. For more information, check out our tips on how to get food dyes out of your child’s diet.
UPDATE: Check out this video for more information: