Hidden Food Dyes: Five Surprise Grocery Store Items to Keep Away from Your Kids

The FDA, determining Thursday that studies show no conclusive link between attention disorders and artificial food dyes like Red #40, may have saved us from the irony of potentially toxic processed food additives today. That irony? Natural food dyes cost more, and are less shelf-stable, so bans -- if they are eventually enacted after more study -- could raise the cost of your kids' favorite processed foods.

You may however, want to steer clear; not only are processed foods usually not very nutritious, but lots of people, including those who have experienced the worst mood altering effects of the colorings, would spend plenty to avoid them.

"It was the allergy medicine," said my writing group buddy Dana Cuellar. "My mom bought some for my 3-year-old and she turned into another person!" After a weekend of agonizing while her daughter screamed raggedly and stabbed her paper instead of drawing on it, she realized it was the Red dye #40. Eliminating it kept her daughter from, as Dana put it, spinning around.