Winners And Losers Of Food Coloring: November 2012
This list of food additive news and notables appears here on the third Thursday of each month. I also include news about other synthetic additives because many kids and adults who react to petroleum food coloring also react to other petroleum based synthetics. This month I’m offering up twice as many losers as winners, and one very prominent “undecided”.
Bloomberg’s NYC healthy hospital food initiative: Some folks see this ban on the sale of junk “food” in hospitals as just another regulation taking away personal freedom of choice. While I support choice and personal responsibility, I think anyone who expects hospitals to hawk non-nutritive snacks will survive without their Skittles for a day or two, while their bodies attempt to heal, and they will likely be better off for it.
Williams Sonoma: This mecca of home goods and entertaining now offers naturally-colored decorating sugars and sprinkles. The fact that more and more naturally dyed products are being offered in mainstream stores is very heartening indeed. And just in time for holiday baking…
Activist moms: Have you signed this petition asking Kellogg’s to remove food coloring from “fruit” snacks marketed to children? My hat’s off to Erica Reid and Latham Thomas for spreading the word.
And on that note, I’ve been asked to share a project from Australian mom, Sonia Gulwadi. She’s spreading awareness of additive dangers in schools, work places, and local organizations. If you’d like to help her out, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details: Your family’s last name, how many kids and their ages, how long you’ve been additive-free or failsafe, and any issues that were resolved by doing this. She’s also looking for volunteers to do 1-minute video appearances.
Parents who are mad that Flamin Hot Cheetos are no longer sold in their children’s schools. If you want to feed your kid junk, do that at home, and on your own dime. But don’t expect schools, which receive federal funding, to provide your growing kids with food dyes and preservatives. These parents make me shake my head as much as those who absolutely expect hospitals to stock vending machines with chemical junk. I sincerely hope that one day, all schools will be free of non-nutritive junk.
Parenting: School Years magazine. The November 2012 issue has a cover photo of a kid eating rainbow-dyed spaghetti. Need I say more? Okay I will. Am I the only one who thinks this kid looks a little scared?
Cleaning products that look like fruit drinks without safety caps. Parents of small children, please don’t buy these tempting but dangerous products. Instead, try vinegar and water with some essential oils or baking soda for most of your house cleaning needs, and keep them safely out of reach.
Kid who dyed a horse. While I never like to imply that a child is a “loser”, I will just suffice it to say that this young person is just unaware of how yucky synthetic food coloring can be for humans and animals alike (unlike that woman who dyed her kitten blue). Please, kids, don’t try this at home.
Pepsi. This cola company is selling a new product called “Pepsi Special“, which claims to help people lose weight by moving fats out of the body with its fiber formula. The commercial implies that you can drink this soda with a high-calorie, high-fat burger or pizza slice, and still be fit as a fiddle. But, there is a surprise ending. My prediction: “Pepsi Poop” will be big in Japan.
New Zealand. All I can think of after reading this report on their food additive use is Murray’s tourism posters in HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords…”New Zealand – Better Than Old Zealand“. While it may be better these days, it’s still very much behind the times. They use stuff even we won’t use in the U.S., and that’s saying something. “New Zealand: Why Not?” Well, where do I begin? Their food regulatory agency seriously needs to review the 2007 McCann study published in The Lancet, and the subsequent comments by the American Association Of Pediatrics, stating that they were wrong in their previous stance. Gives new meaning to the poster “New Zealand: Don’t Expect Too Much…You’ll Love It“.
One huge winner this month was our re-elected President Barack Obama, in the literal sense of participating in a contest and prevailing over an opponent. But, where does he stand on real food? While his wife plants gardens and talks to kids about filling their plates with vegetables, he appoints former Monsanto execs. Talk about mixed messages. I’d like to see him put his money where his mouth is and speak out for real food, and then act on it. After all, if the FDA continues to ignore the dangers of so many food additives used in our country, and our government continues to allow for ingredient sourcing loopholes, our healthcare costs could continue to rise.
Until things improve in the US and elsewhere, I may just take a leaf from Bret and Jemaine’s book, and wear protective chain mail and a helmet when I go food shopping from now on…
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