Food color and link with ADHD

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Food color might accentuate ADHD in children prone to the condition, is the initial thought of some food scientists and the FDA is investigating the matter.

Bright colors in food and its packaging greatly help their marketing. Naturally the food industry resists the thought that food colors might have adverse health implications.

While the scientific jury is out on the issue it reminds me of a personal experience with color in packaging material for milk. As a food packaging executive several years ago, I had a client who reported that aseptically packaged milk  in certain batches had a peculiar smell. Then the technical folks in the client packaging plant decided that the newly re-designed green colored package gave off the odor. The earlier orange colored package did not have the odor and to prove it they packed some more milk in the orange material and made me taste both of them. I could'nt make out the difference and our packaging material plant technologists were pretty frustated when I asked them to go back to the orange color because the "customer is always right."  The packaging material plant people had solid technical reasons for what they were saying because both inks were water based, similar dyes and above all were printed on paper board externally. The milk inside had two layers of plastic , a 175 gsm paper board to cross before it could get near thhe ink.  The funny thing was that the engineers at the clients milk filling plant could not disagree with the logic of the printing and paper converting folks. Yet we changed the color back to orange and took the loss of printed green stock.

The point is that just as color is important at the front customer end of retail and distribution, accusing color becomes easy even at the manufacturing end, when there is no scientific reason to believe that a particular color is to blame.

Apparently,the European Union has warnings on packages that have  certain food colors and let's see how the color and ADHD link plays out in the US.

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