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Food Labeling Crack Down

February 18, 2009

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First it was the trans fat ban, then it was calories on menus and now one state, Maryland, may be required to post warning labels if the food is made with certain food coloring additives. With all of these changes, Americans will most likely be healthier and able to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.

Food coloring found in many processed foods is used to imitate certain fruits and vegetables, but it has been linked to ADHD and other behavioral issues in children. Instead of fresh strawberries on top of a sundae, McDonalds uses synthetic Red 40 in their syrups. Kraft’s guacamole dip uses Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 to look like avocados. Do these dyes replace the flavor of an avocado or fresh strawberries?

Food colorings are designed to make a dish look appealing to kids, but it is possible to have a colorful plate without ingredients that harm our health. Experiment with the fruits and vegetables you keep around the house. You can even make it a contest for the kids. How colorful can you make your plate using these fruits and vegetables?

These changes in your home or on food labels won’t happen overnight, but if you start incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your dishes. Maryland’s proposed bill is a step in the right direction.

If there are so many hidden food colorings in processed foods, what else are the manufacturers hiding from consumers?

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.