The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a March hearing on whether food dyes adversely affect children’s health. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI), is asking the agency for a synthetic food-dye ban and to place warnings on products until the colors are removed. The ban request follows the European Unions move to require products containing synthetic coloring in food and beverages to carry warning labels saying “consumption may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” A study from the University of Southampton reported in the Lancet that hyperactive behavior increased in two groups of children, age 3 and ages 8 and 9, when they consumed two different mixtures of artificial colors, plus the preservative sodium benzoate. While there are many factors that can influence hyperactivity in children, like genes and environment, there is strong evidence that artificial colors can also increase hyperactivity according to the study. Some of the more common food dyes include FD&C Yellow No. 5 and FD&C Red No. 40. Some manufacturers and retailers already are moving to replace synthetic colorings with natural alternatives in their products. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have pledged not to sell products with synthetic food colors. Starbucks doesn’t permit dyes in its beverages or pastries. Many companies have also reformulated products to adjust to the regulations in Europe. For example, Kellogg’s strawberry Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars sold in the U.S. contain Red No. 40, Yellow No. 6 and Blue No. 1. But in the U.K., the cereal bars contain natural alternatives: beet root red, annatto and paprika extra. Personally I can’t imagine anything synthetically dyed or flavor enhance can be good for us. The U.S. FDA needs to consider a ban, but if not, then they need to have manufacturers place warnings on their products. The U.S. FDA should follow the EU’s lead on this one.