Life is Dyed

Catch the news about food dyes lately? I’ll bring you up to speed with an article and video.

I tried to do my part today by writing Quaker Oats about their Life Cereal, which, by the way, is delicious. I hope I hear from them soon.
March 30, 2011

Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
John Compton, CEO, PepsiCo Americas Food
The Quaker Oats Company
P.O. Box 049003
Chicago, Illinois 60604-9003

Dear Ms. Nooyi and Mr. Compton,

Here are the reasons why I have been a fan of Life Cereal:

1.) Your cereal is DELICIOUS. (Of all your Life Cereal varieties, our favorite has been the cinnamon.)
2.) Your cereal is NUTRITIOUS. (That first ingredient is whole grain oat flour. The calorie level is nice. The sugar levels are low and there is a bit of fiber in there.)

Life Cereal is the type of cereal I want to be able to offer my kids on occasion and recommend to families I counsel, but I have concerns. The problems I have are the dyes listed in your ingredient list; Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40 and Blue 1.

Over the past few days, as you are probably well aware, the media has started to pay closer attention to the artificial food dyes in our food supply. David W. Schab and Michael F. Jacobsen wrote an opinion article on March 25th in The Washington Post called “The Rainbow of Food Dyes in Our Grocery Aisles Has A Dark Side”, which is worth the read. In addition, The Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee is weighing evidence today whether dyes in food affects behavior in children. Furthermore, the American people are starting to learn that the United Kingdom has asked manufacturers to discontinue the use of Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 and the European Parliament requires that foods containing these dyes bear warning labels. I bet you can guess what is going to happen when the American people hear this news on food dyes? They are going to read ingredient lists more closely, including yours. If they see dyes listed, they may be more likely to put your food items back on store shelves then bring them to the checkout line to pay. Life Cereal sales will fall.

The dyes are mostly for aesthetic purposes, not for taste and may be harmful. You already have a tasty and nutritious product. Take the lead in the marketplace. Reformulate Life Cereal and remove those dyes. 

If you would like to discuss the issue further, I welcome the opportunity to do so. Thank you for your time with my letter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC

About Melanie Silverman

Melanie is a pediatric registered dietitian nutritionist (RD) and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) working primarily in pediatric nutrition for well over 15 years. She spent seven years as a clinical dietitian at The University of Chicago Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, adult and pediatric burn units, and high risk pediatric follow-up clinic. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. Melanie has presented at state and national meetings for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), March of Dimes, Prader-Willi California Foundation, Texas Prader-Willi Association, Oklahoma Prader Willi Syndrome Association, Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) in the United States and Canada and the Prader-Willi Syndrome USA (PWSA). She worked hard for her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Spanish from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group, Women’s Health Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and an active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association.