By: Kerry McKenzie
• Angry or aggressive behavior
• Inability to concentrate
• Sleep problems
• Increased symptoms of autism and ADHD
Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Commonly used food dyes, such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are made from petroleum and pose a ‘rainbow of risks.’
Why are food dyes even in our foods? The simple answer is that they are used by manufacturers so they can make cheap, unhealthy products and they are pleasing to our eyes (colorful, healthy and appetizing – or so we think). Food dyes are contained in many processed foods including snack foods, candies, margarine, soft drinks, cheese, macaroni and cheese, jams and jellies, desserts, flavored popcorn, yogurt, cereal, and more.
Did you know that about 15 million pounds of these petroleum-based dyes continue to be used in food each year in the United States? Yuck!! Yikes!!
These chemicals are really unhealthy for our children so Choosy says, “it's time to get rid of them altogether!” and consider avoiding them or replace them with safe, natural ingredients.
- Be choosy by reading labels and avoid products with “artificial coloring” or that contain names with numbers - Red #3, Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Citrus Red #2, Green #3, Blue #1, and Blue #2.
- Skip packaged foods marketed at kids. Leave anything brightly colored or unnatural looking on store shelves.
- Shop the sides and the spice isle. Buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices that can be used to color frosting and foods naturally:
- Red or Pink: Beets (puree or juice), cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, strawberries and raspberries (puree), paprika
- Orange or Yellow: Mango (puree), carrot (puree or juice, golden beets (puree or juice), yellow curry, turmeric, saffron
- Blue or Purple: Blueberries (puree), red grapes (juice)
- Green: Basil (puree), spinach (puree), mint (puree), mashed avocado, green tea powder
Check out these websites to learn more about how to make you own food coloring:
Here’s some food for thought from the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
“Back in 1985, the acting commissioner of the FDA said that Red 3, one of the lesser-used dyes, “has clearly been shown to induce cancer” and was “of greatest public health concern.” However, Secretary of Agriculture John R. Block pressed the Department of Health and Human Services not to ban the dye, and he apparently prevailed—notwithstanding the Delaney Amendment that forbids the use of in foods of cancer-causing color additives. Each year about 200,000 pounds of Red 3 are poured into such foods as Betty Crocker’s Fruit Roll-Ups and ConAgra’s Kid Cuisine frozen meals. Since 1985 more than five million pounds of the dye have been used.
“Tests on lab animals of Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 showed signs of causing cancer or suffered from serious flaws, said the consumer group. Yellow 5 also caused mutations, an indication of possible carcinogenicity, in six of 11 tests.
“In addition, according to the report, FDA tests show that the three most-widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are tainted with low levels of cancer-causing compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl in Yellow 5. However, the levels actually could be far higher, because in the 1990s the FDA and Health Canada found a hundred times as much benzidine in a bound form that is released in the colon, but not detected in the routine tests of purity conducted by the FDA.”
How can we be even more “choosy” about the foods we buy and serve our children? Share your tips and ideas with us!