(CBS/AP) Can food colorings make kids hyper? Some scientists say they can, and starting today, an FDA panel will meet for two days to evaluate scientific data linking the colorings with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD
So far, the FDA has said there is no proven link between the colorings (dyes) and hyperactivity in most children. But it said that for "certain susceptible children," hyperactivity and other behavioral problems may be exacerbated by food dyes.
The meeting is being held in response to a 2008 petition filed by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest to ban eight dyes.
Michael Jacobson, the director of that group, said at the meeting Wednesday that the only reason that dyes exist in food is to trick consumers. Some manufacturers use less dyes in the same foods sold in Europe because of concerns there over hyperactivity.
"Dyes are often used to make junk food more attractive to young children, or to simulate the presence of a healthful fruit or other natural ingredient," Jacobson said. "Dyes would not be missed in the food supply except by the dye manufacturers."
The food industry is asking consumers not to rush to judgment. David Schmidt, president and CEO of International Food Information Council Foundation, a food-industry funded group, said dyes help consumers enjoy their food by maintaining or improving appearance.