As expected, an advisory panel decided Thursday to tell the Food and Drug Administration there is insufficient evidence linking synthetic food dyes to hyperactivity in children.

The group will also recommend that products containing artifical dyes need not carry package warnings.

The Food Advisory Committee, which included experts in toxicology, immunology and nutrition, as well as consumer representatives, had been convened to respond to a petition from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Three years ago, CSPI had asked for a review of eight of nine FDA-approved food dyes, including Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6 and Red No. 40, and whether labels should warn that foods containing these dyes could cause hyperactivity. 


A majority of the advisory group called for more research to determine whether some dyes, especially Blue  No. 1, may be a problem for some children.

After the two-day meeting, CSPI director Michael Jacobson said his consumer advocacy group will continue to press food manufacturers to stop using dyes, which he argues have no nutritional value but are simply meant to make junk food more attractive to children.

Jacobsen said he’s encouraged that some major food companies have announced plans to replace synthetic dyes with natural coloring.