Niana D. Wisconsin

Food You'll DYE For

The unnecessary chemicals added in our food is harming us. They must be eliminated to improve the health of our country.

Dear President,

When I walk down the aisle of a grocery store I observe many different things. Shapes, Colors, sometimes even smells. From a quick glance everything seems fine and healthy but an issue I have taken note of has everything to do with the bright, unnatural colors I see in food. I realize that some foods naturally contain color like fruits and vegetables. The issue I have is when food is artificially colored. These artificial colors added like Red 40 and Yellow 5 have shown to negatively affect developing minds leading to ADHD/ADD and behavioral issues but continue to remain legal in the United States.

As a student in school I have noticed that a lot of my peers have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or feel that they struggle with concentration. The amount of students with these behavioral and learning disorders has increased continually in the last decade. Other countries have taken note of this and conducted studies to look further into the issue. Britain’s study showed that even children with no previous issues develop them when consuming artificial colorants. It does not just stop at that though. Artificial color also has many more risks associated with it. Blue #1 (E133) and Blue #2 (E132) which is banned in Norway, Finland and France is linked to brain cancer and inhibits nerve cell development. Red #3 (E127) and Red #40, known for being banned back in the 90’s for topical use is still allowed to be consumed. This colorant is linked to tumors of the immune system and happens to be in a large variety of drinks and foods we consume every day.

These are not the only colors harmful to the body and we allow our children and families to consume these products and suffer the consequences. So why do companies still use them? It’s not necessary for our cheese to be bright yellow and our sports drinks to be blue. These companies are trying to appeal to people’s tastes, the better food looks the more likely people will buy them. They want to make money and do not look at the bigger picture. Our health as a nation is declining, while those other countries who took action and banned colorants and various other health deterrents are improving. We have the knowledge and have suffered the consequences, now all we have to do is take action.

The way to fix this is not entirely impossible. We need to follow in the footsteps of other nations that have taken note of the harms of these chemicals. Food coloring that is known to negatively impact the body should be banned. An alternative to this is natural food coloring. There are many plants and vegetables that are capable of dying our foods without the risk. If you have the welfare of our nation in mind as important then it is imperative that something is done about the things we’re consuming.

Wauwatosa West High School

Wauwatosa West American Public Policy

All juniors are enrolled in a required civics and public policy course called American Public Policy. The capstone project is the Issue Investigation - students identify an issue that can be solved by the creation, modification, elimination of a public policy. Student letters are their first research step in the Issue Investigation process.

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