A Big Problem: Food Coloring

March 24, 2011

Food coloring is any substance, liquid or powder, that is added to food and beverages to enhance color and flavor. Commercially produced food coloring is usually comes from either natural sources or synthetic materials. All food coloring is edible but some people may have a sensitivity to it.

Food manufacturers use food colors to create fantastic colors for candy, soda, and chips, but food coloring can also be added to fresh foods to give them a more "natural" look, or to give the consumer what they expect: like more orange oranges!
Today it is often used in some protein foods as tuna or meat to enhance the color, appearance and make the product look fresh.

Often, but unfortunately not always, food dyes are listed on food labels with a number next to them; these are commercially produced dyes approved by the FDA.

So, what is the problem with it?

Recent studies confirm that the artificial colorants are changing the neurochemistry of our brains and coloring in our food is linked to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives. While the European Union has recently issued regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks, in the United States there are no such requirement.

Are you astonished about this news? Wait, there is more. American companies that do business in Europe are now using safe, natural colorings there - but they still use harmful, synthetic petrochemicals in the States.
So why they do that? That’s a good question. My call is that they are doing it just because they’re allowed to do it and because it makes their life easier!

Here there are some of the most common food dyes used today. Now figure out by yourself about the risk you encounter every time you eat/drink something that contains them!

Blue #1 (the Brilliant Blue)
An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue caused kidney tumors in mice.
Where you can find it? In baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products.

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine)
Causes a statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain glicomas, in male rats. Where you can find it? In colored beverages, candies, pet food, & other food and drugs.

Citrus Red #2
It's toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors to the urinary bladder and possibly to other organs.
Where you can find it? Skins of Florida oranges.

Green #3 (Fast Green)
Caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats.
Where you can find it? Drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics.

Red #3 (Erythrosine)
Recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals, it has been banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs.
Where you can find it? Sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods and candies.

Red #40 (Allura Red)
This is the most-widely used and consumed dye. It may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. It also causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in some consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children.
Where you can find it? Beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics.

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow 5 causes sometimes severe hypersensitivity reactions and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children.
Where you can find it? Pet foods, numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)
Caused adrenal tumors in animals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Where you can find it? Color baked goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs.


My piece of advice is to extremely careful when it comes to food colorants and, to the extent possible, youshould stay clear of them.
Remember this: distrust the beautiful food and choose the one less colored (Snow Wihte’s apple was perfect, remember that? And remember just how she ended up...)

It very easy to make food look prettier and more appetizing, but food coloring isn't quite as attractive when you consider its potential effects on your health.
Although the FDA continues to allow these additives in foods, this doesn't necessarily mean they're healthy. It should be remembered that trans fats were once considered acceptable food additives until studies showing their negative health effects became too prevalent to ignore.
Food is the energy that mother nature give us to carry on, it should not be artificial and it is perfect the way it is which has nothing to do with the way it looks.

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food, this rule will keep all sorts of chemicals and foodlike substances off from your diet!!
By Margherita Bisoglio


  1. It is also worth noting that there are many natural food dyes that are safe. They can be substitutes to these synthetic food dyes. Read labels carefully.