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June 4, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Red Number 40

Food dye is in the news once again.  A consumer group is urging the FDA to ban several different dyes that are commonly found in food…often rainbow-Brite style kiddie snacks.  Who knew it wasn’t a good idea to give your children blue yogurt? 

Common sense should have made this obvious.  What surprises me is that finding food dye in your food isn’t necessarily easy.  The news clip I saw yesterday showed two bags of Tostito Corn Chips.  The regular one didn’t have yellow dye, the one with “Hint of Lime” did.  I don’t make a habit of checking food labels for dye, but I think I will.  Good rules of thumb for purchasing food:

  • Stay on the outside edge of the grocery store.  This is where all the fresh food is.  Once you start going up and down aisles, you’re getting into the over processed junk, the stuff that the FDA waves through the gates without really checking, even though other countries have banned the ingredients long ago.
  • Check the ingredients of the food…if your eyes start to get tired from reading the lengthy additives and unpronounceables, it’s probably not a good choice. 

Did you know that Red #40 is derived from coal tar?  I think that any additive that requires intensive studies on rats isn’t a good idea in the first place. 

If you think back to M&M’s, and how the red M&M went on hiatus for many years, well that was because of Red 40.  Then suddenly red M&Ms returned.  The reason?  “Well, we thought it caused cancer, but we ran some more tests, and we think it’s okay now.”  Bring on the coal tar!  In fact, food coloring has been banned in many European countries and the same companies make food for them that doesn’t use the additives…but they keep shoveling it to us here in the USA.  Why can’t we just eat the food they give the Europeans?  We make it healthier for other countries…but not for ourselves?  Is this not maddening?

I liked reading Watts’ post about it.  The first comment made me chuckle:  The commenter wrote:

“All food additives have been thoroughly tested and shown to be safe. Do you really think that a major food company would add something that could hurt you?”

Ahh, grasshopper.  Do you really think a major food company cares if it hurts you or not?  As long as they have the government stamp of approval, thereby removing any responsibility and/or accountability, and they can sell you Kandy-Kolored food to the tune of billions, and their profit margins rise, and their CEOs vacation in Monaco each month…hmmm, I really don’t think they care if it could hurt you or not. 

After all, that’s what the PR and marketing department is for…scandal cleanup.



Leave a Comment
  1. B cox / Jan 2 2009 8:26 pm

    I know that red 40 has caused my daughter some very tough times. In school at home and now as an adult and a new mother. Depression just to mention one. I only hope that one day that the dyes will be banned from our foods.

    Dyes and everything else they put in there. I notice that they found melamine in US formula now. The FDA came out with a quick statement saying “well, small amounts are okay”

  2. pikespeakdenise / Jun 7 2008 7:54 pm

    I almost choked on my Kettle Korn when I got to “Kandy-Kolored!” Did that hurt to write?

  3. Dave / Jun 4 2008 7:32 pm

    …And all kids’ toys made in China are thoroughly tested for lead. Do you really think that a major toy manufacturer would add something that could hurt you?

    I’m not against dyes, but understand what you’re getting into if you buy something with them in it.

  4. crazycrashink / Jun 4 2008 9:19 am

    interesting… and distrubing!

That's what she said!

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