Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
A Change.org petition appealing to Mars, Inc. to stop using artificial food dyes in their iconic M&M candies has garnered more than 145,000 signatures. In Europe, M&Ms are colored using naturally derived dyes, and some parents and scientists link artificial dyes to behavioral issues in kids. More on the petition from CNN.com:
[Renee] Shutters says her son Trenton showed noticeable improvements in mood and attention span after she removed artificial coloring from his diet a few years ago. M&Ms were his favorite candy.
“I just could not believe that something so small could make that big of a difference,” Shutters says.
European lawmakers moved to require warning labels on foods containing certain artificial colorings after a 2007 study found a slight increase in hyperactivity among children consuming a mixture of the dyes and a preservative.
The required label reads: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”
The move came despite the European Food Safety Authority’s conclusion that the UK study “provides limited evidence” and “cannot be used as a basis for altering the (accepted daily intake) of the respective food (colors).”
Instead of adding the warning, most manufacturers voluntarily switched to dyes derived from natural sources, such as beets or annatto for red, carrots for orange and saffron for yellow.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has declined to implement tougher regulations but acknowledged that “certain susceptible children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other problem behaviors” may have their condition “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”
The effects on behavior “appear to be due to a unique intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent neurotoxic properties,” the FDA said in 2011.
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the FDA and big business need to take action.
“The Food and Drug Administration should protect the public’s health by banning food dyes,” Jacobson says. “Companies of course could remove dyes voluntarily, switching to safer natural colorings, and a few big companies are beginning to do it.”
Image: Candy coated chocolates, via Shutterstock
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artificial coloring, attention, candy, Change.org, food dyes, M&Ms, Mars Inc., nutrition | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, Parenting News, Trends
Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Thirty four US children per day are seen in emergency rooms nationwide for choking incidents where the culprit is food, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. More from NBC News:
That amounts to more than 12,000 emergency visits a year from kids ages birth to 14, but the problem is actually even more significant since most kids who choke don’t wind up at the hospital.
“As dramatic as this study is, this is clearly an underestimate,” says Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s senior author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Those children between the ages of birth to 4 were most likely to choke on food, with hard candy accounting for 15 percent of choking incidents. Other kinds of candy and gum were the culprit behind 13 percent of episodes, followed by meat — not including hot dogs — and bones. Nuts, seeds and hot dogs were the foods most likely to end up in a hospital stay — nuts and seeds because they’re difficult for little teeth to chew and hot dogs because they can be sucked into the airway and cause more serious choking.
“If you were going to get the best engineer in the world, you couldn’t design a better plug for a child’s airway than a hot dog,” says Smith.
Children’s airways are relatively small compared to those of adults, notes Dr. Phyllis Agran, a pediatric gastroenterologist and professor emerita at the University of California, Irvine’s medical school. “The bigger you are, the more room there is,” says Agran.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping foods including hot dogs, nuts, chunks of meat or cheese, whole grapes and hard candy away from kids younger than 4.
Image: Whole grapes, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Citing a desire to determine what it is that makes breast milk so inherently soothing to babies, a Texas-based candy company called Lollyphile has released a breast milk-flavored lollipop. The candy is meant for consumption by both kids and adults who, they hope, might be able to reconnect with that comforting sensation. More from Gawker.com:
“We felt it was our responsibility to find out just what this flavor was that could turn a screaming, furious infant into a placid, contented one,” the company, Lollyphile, wrote on their website.
Upset because you’re a vegan and therefore unable to relive the glory days of breast-milk? Fret not — these new pops are dairy-free and contain no actual breast-milk, according to an interview Lollyphile founder Jason Darling gave to the Los Angeles Times.
“Can you imagine armies of pumping mothers?” Darling said. “Managing that would be a logistical nightmare.”
According to Darling, the lollipops are mostly sugar. “It all kind of tastes like almond milk, but sweeter,” he said.
Darling also said that the lollipops, which cost $10 for 4 pops, sold “a few thousand dollars’ worth” on the first day after the product launched.
Image: Child eating lollipop, via Lollyphile.com
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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Any parent who has tried to soothe a fussy baby at 30,000 feet knows that flying with little ones is no picnic. It’s even worse when your fellow passengers are less than understanding.
One couple tried an interesting strategy when flying recently with their 14-week-old twins: they passed out candy to everyone on the plane, along with a note explaining that this was the twins’ first flight, reports The Huffington Post’s Lisa Belkin. The note apologized in advance for any crying, and offered earplugs to anyone who needed them.
One passenger posted a photo of the treats on the website Reddit on Sunday with this description: “Brilliant and thoughtful parents handed these out to everyone on my flight.”
The photo sparked instant debate. Within a day, it had attracted more than 3,000 comments and had been viewed more than a million times. Some people praised the gesture and expressed sympathy for the parents, while others stated that babies just don’t belong on planes. Some complained about times that they’d had to sit next to babies who cried or had dirty diapers.
One commenter suggested that the candy was unnecessary. “Really? You don’t find this to be overkill?” papabusche said. “I don’t require an apology for a crying baby on a plane. This is to be expected. I’m ok with it. People have babies, and they need to travel too.”
The subject of children on planes has sparked intense discussion in recent years. Last summer, Malaysia Airline banned babies under age 2 from the first class cabins of its Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.
Readers, what do you think? Were the treats a smart move, or overkill?
Image: Candy from babies via gigantomachy / Reddit.
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