January 7th, 2014
12:46 PM ET
Share this on:

What gives M&Ms their bright colors? That depends on which country you're in.

Mars Inc. primarily uses artificial food coloring for the candy in the United States, but M&Ms derive their candy coloring from natural sources in Europe.

Now a Change.org petition begun by Renee Shutters and the Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling on Mars to stop using artificial dyes in its American M&Ms as well. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 142,000 supporters.

Shutters says her son Trenton showed noticeable improvements in mood and attention span after she removed artificial coloring from his diet a few year 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."

Read - American mom wants European M&Ms

Gatorade removes controversial ingredient after girl's online petition
9-year-old girls save the world

Posted by:
Filed under: Allergies • Health News

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Robi Wolpert

    There are huge public claim in Israel against M&M Importer and Mars world Claim no. 19576/02/14 regarding the Artificial colors values what create harmful for everybody and spacial children who eat it.

    February 11, 2014 at 8:51 am |
  2. fdfd

    Maybe the thing causing the hyper activity is the sugar in the candy that happens to have the dye in it.

    January 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      or the Ritalin

      January 13, 2014 at 1:35 am |
  3. Shove it Vlad

    Next time, do your own research before beating your dead meat about moms and their anecdotal evidence.


    Google: ama artificial dyes and adhd

    There's an upside-down stool with your name on it in the STFU cafe. Take it and shove a leg where the sun don't shine.

    January 9, 2014 at 7:15 am |
    • mel

      Your sources didn't prove anything. I looked at all three. The FDA's findings from YOUR links?
      "Data suggestive of predisposition for food intolerance or hypersensitivity in certain children.
      Triggering food or food component different for each child.
      Behavioral responses to a food, food component, additive, flavor, or AFC appear to depend upon the individual and not on the class of provoking item."
      SOME of the kids were responding negatively to chocolate! Put it this way – would you accept this kind of vagueness if a big bad corporation wanted to introduce a new drug to the marketplace? I didn't think so. Neither would the FDA. Why is it OK now?

      January 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
      • Shove it Vlad

        It proves that there's more to this than Vlad's repet itive claims that this is based on one mother's "anecdotal evidence." Way to keep things in perspective melamine.

        January 13, 2014 at 6:46 am |
        • mel

          Proof? According to the FDA, which YOU cited ... not much.

          January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      I recognize this writing... :D

      January 13, 2014 at 1:36 am |
  4. Jen

    It's not one mom – she's is speaking for thousands of moms, me included. We, too, saw the liink between dyes and our son's behavior. Once we made the connection and he stopped eating things like artificial dyes, no more ADHD meds! The symtoms were gone. There are plenty of good studies but we didn't need them – we saw it before our eyes. Watch this little slide show – http://www.feingold.org/DOCS/ShortWorkshopMar2013.pdf

    January 9, 2014 at 2:25 am |
    • VladT

      I am glad it "worked" for you, but again, anecdotal evidence. If my viral bronchitis went away the day Nelson Mandela died, and I can prove that a lot of other people had their bronchitis go away that day, then I can also infer that anytime a world renowned peace activist dies, people will be cured of bronchitis. That is the same anecdotal evidence mantra.

      Sorry, if you are that peeved about M & M's having dye, bite the bullet and tell your son its bad for him. Don't ruin M&M's for the rest of us who magically ate them throughout our lives without having ADD or ADHD symptoms

      January 9, 2014 at 5:24 am |
      • Jerv

        Jesus frack, Vlad. What's gotten in to you? It's just frackin food coloring.

        January 9, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • Jdizzle McHammerpants

          Battlestar Galactica FTW

          January 13, 2014 at 1:36 am |
  5. TNT

    Why don't they just get their kids a chocolate bar?

    January 8, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  6. VladT

    Sorry....I don't think a major corporaiton should change its whole make-up and product due to anecdotal evidence of one mother, and I like to use facts over emotion when making decisions, but hey, that's just me

    January 8, 2014 at 2:31 am |
    • AleeD®@VladT

      The article does mention she had >142k supporters. Additionally I know of a mother who did the same thing with her child based on studies her doctor brought to her attention. She did her research before changing her child's diet and things did improve for him. There's more to this artificial food enhancement issue than this article offers.

      January 8, 2014 at 7:14 am |
      • VladT

        So if I get 140,000 that the Holocaust didn't happen, that would be "proof?"

        January 8, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • AleeD@VladT

          Way to blow something out of proportion! I was commenting on your comment – nothing more.

          January 9, 2014 at 6:59 am |
      • Shula Edelkind

        Yes, you are very right - there is more. The companies use artificial color and flavor for a reason: Because it's cheap and because they figure we're all too dumb to know the difference. Look at a package of blueberry pop tarts next time you walk down the breakfast bars aisle. They appear to be full of plump blueberries, right? You would buy them to make sure your child has fruit for breakfast perhaps. But look closer. They have Red 40 and Blue 1 (this is from memory ... maybe it was Blue 2?) Why? Blueberries are blue, no? Look some more. They have artificial blueberry flavor and gelatin stuff ... oh ... and less than 2% blueberry powder. What they did is color some lumpy gelatin blue and flavor it with chemical flavor, and charge you for blueberries. It's your money and your health. And their profit..

        January 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • VladT

          Haha....anyone who actually believes Pop-Tarts contains fruit has some serious comprehension issues. However, I know that circular crunchy chocolate bites aren't naturally coated in colors with a white "M" on them, so it doesn't bug me that food dye is used. Though I think its terribly sad (and hilarious) that someone thinks a pop tart has real fruit in them, the comparison still doesn't work for me.

          Also, most arguments lose credibility the moment they jump on the "Evil corporations are making money" bandwagon

          January 9, 2014 at 5:20 am |
    • Shula Edelkind

      Shula Edelkind · Research Librarian / Webmaster at The Feingold Association
      As the only organization teaching families how to remove the worst of the additives from their diet while still maintaining a "normal" American diet, the Feingold Association supports the efforts of Renee and the CSPI. See the petition itself at http://www.change.org/MMsDyes and track it also at http://www.adhddiet.org

      There are plenty of studies, but they really don't make good TV entertainment because ... well, because they are studies. Many of the early studies were designed and funded by the companies that make or use the food additives Dr. Feingold eliminated in the Feingold Diet - synthetic food dyes, flavorings, BHA, BHT, etc. Well, those studies tried really hard to disprove the idea that these things could be problematic ..... but every time they put kids on a Feingold-type diet, between 60% and 85% of them got better. See http://feingold.org/images/bar-chart.jpg

      So then they challenged the kids double blind with a very small amount of food dye - 1 mg to 35 mg in most of the studies, even though it was already KNOWN that kids were eating up to over 300 mg per day even back then (FDA information, 1979). Well, this small amount only affected the youngest children, if anybody .... well, gee, 10 mg of anything is a bigger dose for a 3 year old than for a teenager, don't you think? Those studies using larger amounts or combinations of additives for their challenges got better results, so the food and drug industry scientists said the results are "all over the place" or "mixed" ... you will still read that in many places. Well please look at what happens when you arrange the studies in the order of how much food dye they used for their challenge: http://www.feingold.org/challenges.html and don't forget to put your cursor over the middle of the graph to see it change from "mixes" to - guess what? It's a dose-response. You can also see other studies on diet for ADHD at http://www.feingold.org/Research/adhd.php .... these are collected from MedLine and connected to their abstracts and where possible to the full texts.

      January 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I had some this morning, actually. We were out of smoked almonds. So then I looked..........


    January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • hillytoo

      Thanks man, you made my day!

      January 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
| Part of