In 1971, a 12-year old boy in Baltimore was admitted to the hospital after reportedly passing some loose stools that looked “like strawberry ice cream.” The young patient wasn’t suffering from abdominal cramping, but his doctors suspected he might have been suffering from internal bleeding, they wrote in a case study published in Pediatrics. After two days in the hospital, he was back to normal. At least he was back to normal until he started his old breakfast routine—a bowl of Franken Berry breakfast cereal. Then, it looked as if he were bleeding again.
No, this not an urban legend. But it's a case where artificial food coloring had unintended consequences. And something similar could be happening again—on a much larger scale, in ways that scientists are finding much less discernible.
That's what the new labels the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute want to slap on the front of store-brand boxes of cereal, crackers, and ice cream. You'll start seeing the new labels in the next couple of months, but maybe not for long. The New York Timesreports:
The industry move was widely seen as an attempt to influence the [Food and Drug Administration's] continuing effort to establish voluntary guidelines for front-of-package labeling. Once those guidelines are issued, perhaps this year, the industry could come under pressure to change its packaging again.