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| Last Updated:: 01/04/2016

Food Color Toxicity


1: Food coloring is made from petroleum, contaminants, and propylene glycol (a.k.a. antifreeze).


A little perspective ... Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) is made from crude oil runoff and contains a known carcinogen called benzene. Benzene has been banned from our gasoline in the US. And the same Blue 2 dye that colors our jeans also colors our foods. Now times are tough, but I doubt any of us would eat gasoline or jeans willingly.



2: Artificial food coloring has been linked to bed-wetting, eczema, mood swings, hyperactivity, sleep disturbances, increased risky behavior, ear infections, headaches, hypersensitivity, obesity, asthma, diabetes, cancer, ADD/ADHD, chromosomal damage, hives, and possibly hypoglycemia.


Some scientists believe it could play a role in Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.


3: If a food label includes "artificial color,” “artificial color added” or “color added” this means that natural pigments were used.


Synthetic dyes must be listed on a product, by name (for example Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Green 3).



4: There are some times when we consume petroleum dyes without ever knowing it:


In stores: Oranges are sprayed with Citrus Red dye to appear more nutritious, and no label is required. Salmon are given red-colored feed to make their flesh appear brighter (and therefore fresher). Supermarket beef is injected with red dye to hide its otherwise gray hue.

At parties: You knew food coloring was in soda, cake, juices, and candy - but did you know that it's also in those goody bag temporary tattoos, face paints, finger paints, and play dough?

In school cafeterias: Kids consume petroleum food dyes in jelly, yogurt, condiments, meats, juices, fruit cocktail, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, chips, pickles, sugar-free and regular pudding, cake, popsicles, ice cream, and flavored milk.

At restaurants: Kids' menu items contain plenty of dyes: Lemonade, sugar-free lemonade, caramel dip, chips, pickles, rice, sauces, condiments, cookies, frozen yogurt, ice cream, "fruit" punch, and juice. Be wary of water taps that do double duty with highly dyed soda. We always bring dye-free, sugar-free drink mix packets.


5: Synthetic dyes are not vegan due to continual animal testing.


I found this out after getting the one and only spray tan of my life. If you have a special occasion coming up and want a more natural glow, do an online search for "organic spray tans."


6: Petroleum dyes are in white liquids and foods, such as coffee creamer and marshmallows.


7: Medicines such as pain killers, fever reducers, and allergy treatments (Benadryl) may contain synthetic dyes.


Ask for dye-free versions of prescriptions from your doctor or pharmacist.


8: Products with the label "made with organic ingredients" may still contain synthetic dyes.


Buying 100% certified organic products are an easy way to avoid food coloring.


9: "Caramel coloring" isn't natural.


It's sugar that has been highly processed with ammonia and sulfites. It has been shown to produce two carcinogenic chemicals in the body (related to lung, liver, and thyroid cancer, and leukemia). It's used in soda, tea, beer, liquor, baked goods, sauces and dips, dressings, gravies, and candy. I found it in NUMEROUS "healthy" products at two well-known "natural" grocery chains. 10: The largest American food manufacturers are already selling dye-free versions of their popular products in other countries. Yes, they do have the means to change their production methods ... it's just cheaper to use chemicals. And our government hasn't been as proactive in encouraging a switch.