Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, & Yellow 6 – Artificial food dyes are commonly added to many of the products we consume on a daily basis. From cosmetics to fruit bars to soft drinks, these controversial dyes have been linked to allergies, migraines, behavioral issues like ADD and ADHD, and even cancer.
What are artificial food dyes and why are they made?
Artificial dyes and preservatives are added to our food to make them more visually appealing and extend the shelf life of the product. Additionally, many synthetic food dyes are made from petroleum or crude oil and are cheaper to manufacturer than natural food dyes.
The FDA approves them, doesn’t that make them safe?
While the FDA approves 9 artificial colors for use in food and beverages, some studies suggest they are not safe. “Synthetic food colors are thought to cause behavioral symptoms in children because they may cause chemical changes in the brain, inflammation from an allergic response, and the depletion of minerals, such as zinc, that are involved in growth and development,” according to Healthline. Studies have shown improvements in behavioral issues when artificial dyes were eliminated. Additionally, in particular, Red 40 contains p-Cresidine, a ‘reasonably anticipated’ human carcinogen, according the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s enough for me to avoid it whenever possible!
Are artificial dyes banned in Europe?
In Europe, they ban or add warning labels to products with risky additives, yet the U.S. does not remove additives from our food until after they are proven dangerous. Often times, the warning label deters many companies from using artificial dyes in the first place.
So what about the M&M’s you snacked on while binging on Netflix? In America, they may not be the same M&M’s that you would purchase in Europe. The ingredients listed are often changed to meet the stricter European standards and may not include dyes like Red 40 or Yellow 5.
Natural Food Sprinkles and Dyes for Baking
India Tree is my go-to brand when purchasing sprinkles and natural dyes for cakes and art-projects like DIY Edible Play Dough! India Tree plant based coloring products are verified non-GMO, kosher, and contain no corn syrup, artificial colors or synthetic dyes. We love these carnival sprinkles and use these natural dyes whenever a recipe calls for splash of color!
DIY Food Dyes at Home
Blend and create your own natural dyes in the comfort of your kitchen.
- Red: beetroot or cherries
- Yellow: turmeric powder
- Blue: red cabbage
- Pink: strawberries (our fav!!), raspberries, beetroot – just a pinch, pomegranate or cherries
- Purple: blueberries or purple carrot
- Green: spinach or matcha powder
- Orange: pumpkin, carrot or paprika powder
- Brown: cocoa powder or cinnamon
- Black: black cocoa powder
- Why these food additives are banned in Europe—but not in the United States
- Colors To Die For: The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring
- Is red food dye made from bugs? Where did red M&M’s go in the ’80s?
- The rainbow of food dyes in our grocery aisles has a dark side
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and the information on this website is for informational purposes only. As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting any medical treatment. This blog has not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or methods mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment.
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