Mom petitions M&M to change food coloring dyes

    1:31 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) -- They're some of America's favorite little treats. So why is there a push to make a change to M&M's?

    Some parents say the coloring makes their kids hyperactive. Now a petition has been launched to make the manufacturer to adjust how the candy gets its color which varies in different parts of the world.

    The colors of M&M's are iconic. They're the candy-coated stars of their own TV commercials.

    So what gives the real M&M's their colors? Well, that depends on which country you're in.

    Locally bought M&M's have a list of ingredients including "yellow 6", "yellow 5", "red 40"; all names for artificial food colorings, derived from petroleum.

    But M&M's from England and their colors come mostly from plants. Mom Renee Shutters said, "I just think it's not fair that our country is the one getting the artificial dyes while Europe is getting natural dyes."

    Shutters says her son Trenton used to suffer regular 'meltdowns', but then his behavior improved remarkably when she took artificial dyes out of his diet, including M&M's.

    Now she's building support for her cause. More than 140,000 people have signed her change.org petition, calling on the candy company mars to remove artificial food coloring from M&M's. and she just might have a chance.

    In November, under similar pressure from parents, Kraft took out the iconic artificial yellow coloring contained in some of its mac and cheese products and swapped it for a natural coloring.

    And Mars tells CNN in a statement they are exploring the use of natural colorings. They've already obtained approval from the food and drug administration for a natural blue and green dye.

    But changing to natural colors won't happen overnight, the company warns, and they say they have "absolute confidence" in all their ingredients.

    It's debatable whether artificial colorings really do cause hyperactivity; the FDA says for some kids, they may be an issue.

    But Renee Shutters is convinced. She said, "I thank God every single day that we figured this out. What breaks my heart is thinking about all these families that will never put those pieces together."

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