ABC Action News has just reported General Mills’ groundbreaking announcement that they are voluntarily removing harmful food dyes and artificial flavors from their entire cereal line – even Trix and Lucky Charms.
This is not to say that the brightly colored breakfast grains will become lackluster – it’s always been possible to naturally color food. There was never any need to subject consumers to 15 million pounds of carcinogenic petroleum byproducts (coal tar derivatives) per year.
The company is the first major cereal company to replace those artificial ingredients with fruits, vegetables and spices.
“We wanted to make sure they were still fun vibrant colors that we are providing and the fruity flavor that kids expect,” Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer, told Good Morning America.
Gallager provided an exclusive look at General Mills’ top secret cereal lab where they tried hundreds of natural ingredients like tomatoes, purple carrots and spices like turmeric for colors.
By this coming January, the company said 75 percent of its cereals will be without those artificial ingredients, likely including Trix and Reese’s Puffs; and by the end of 2016, the company hopes to cover 90 percent of the cereal brands.
General Mills says Lucky Charms’ marshmallows will prove to be the most difficult and might not become naturally colored until 2017. GM said they were making changes for health reasons and that over 60 percent of their cereals either were already free of dyes or have made the transition.
The FDA still holds that artificial colors are not harmful to the nervous system of children and do not lead to hyperactivity. The European Union disagrees – prior to banning them, they made sure ingredients displayed warnings to parents. Even if the FDA will stalwartly defend the unnecessary ingredients, there is ample proof of artificial colors linked to ADHD, allergies and cancer. The FDA should recall (no pun intended) that the artificial colors approved as safe in previous decades had to be pulled from the market for the dangerous harmful health effects.
Artificial flavors are synthetic, mainly chemically derived additives that fall under a broad spectrum of ingredients. Some individuals are sensitive to certain artificial ingredients but may have to avoid all products that contain artificial flavorings since the labels are non-specific. If the body does not recognize the components, such chemical flavorings can take up receptor sites and place heavier burdens on the liver and pancreas which need to need to exhaust more enzymes to break them down.
In recent years, GM eliminated GMOs from their original flavor Cheerios because of consumer demand. That took some heat away from them, but they still believe in GMOs and donated over $1 million to show it by stifling labeling attempts. However, if a giant food company makes great strides to please consumers, it never hurts to acknowledge it.