April 11/Washington/The Chicago Tribune -- The FDA, after long stating that no scientific evidence conclusively links the petroleum-based colorants to hyperactivity and other ills, has agreed to reassess them. A panel of experts will review studies and suggest any policy changes.

An outright ban on synthetic dyes is unlikely, though the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest just petitioned the FDA to outlaw caramel colorings that use ammonium compounds and, in 2008, asked it to revoke approval for several synthetic food dyes.

At the time, it requested an interim warning label such as, "The artificial colorings in this food cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children."

In countries that have different dye regulations, food companies routinely substitute natural dyes for artificial ones. The CSPI cites Nutri-Grain bars. In Britain they contain natural colorants. In the U.S., synthetic.

From the April 12, 2011,Prepared Foods' Daily News. ;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA'> Prepared Foods' Daily News.