My 17 month old seems to be allergic to Yellow #5, apparently the most allergenic food dye. She developed short-lived hives on her face after eating Kraft MacNCheese and yellow american cheese (they smeared on her face). Thankfully there was no systemic reaction, but we are staying away from food dyes. We shop mostly at Trader Joes and try to buy as much organic food as we can afford. There are plenty of kid foods and snack foods without these ingredients - you just have to read all labels. One great treat I discovered is Popsicle brand Dora and Scribblers popsicles. They are the only ones I've seen that are made with natural colors and flavors and my kids love them.
Please report your child's reactions to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They are a food-advocacy organization trying to get these additives banned. Here is their message and link to report reactions:
Is your child's behavior worsened by synthetic food dyes? If so, I need your help.
In June, CSPI asked the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate synthetic dyes, such as Yellow 5 and Red 40, from the food supply. Alarming new evidence shows these chemicals cause behavioral problems, such as hyperactivity, in some children.
If your child's behavior has been affected by food dyes or has improved from eliminating synthetic colorings from his or her diet, please file a report with us about your experience here:
In the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, most multinational food companies are using natural colorings but continue to use synthetic dyes for American products. For example, in the U.K. the syrup in a McDonald's strawberry sundae is colored with actual strawberries. In the U.S., McDonald's uses a coal-tar-based dye, Red 40. Similarly, Nutri-Grain cereal bars, Starburst candies and Betty Crocker cake have safe, natural colorings in the U.K. but synthetic food dyes in the U.S.
The reports you file at www.cspinet.org/fooddyes will be sent periodically to the Food and Drug Administration, which regrettably continues to deny synthetic dyes cause behavioral problems in children. Unless we contact you asking permission to do otherwise, your name and contact information will be kept confidential.
Thank you for your help on this urgent issue. Please feel free to forward this message to parents of young children.