Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Issues with Food Coloring

Different colors in foods are made from many different things. Some of these things, are gross, others are potentially hazardous. I have done my best to avoid food coloring in my children's lives for as long as I could remember. Here's a few of some common food coloring found in food in the USA.

  • Red No. 4, also known as Carmine is produced from the cochineal insect. The insects are crushed to collect their dyes, which were originally used to dye clothes, but have made it's way to food too. Other then knowing your eating bug guts, this particular dye is not acceptable by vegetarians.
  • Red No. 3 is made of erythrosine, is a coal tar compound. (Nasty!) There is concern that it may be carcinogenic, and has been associated with thyroid tumors in lab rats.
  • Red No. 40 (Allura Red) is made of petroleum (yikes!!), and has been associated with increases in hyperactivity, and ADHD in children. This food coloring is outlawed in some European Nations.
  • Yellow No. 5 is made of tartrazine, which is also a coal tar compound. People with asthma, or aspirin sensitivity should avoid this dye, which pretty much lends to it not being very good for any of us.
  • Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow) is also made of a coal tar compound. It is a sulfinated version of Sudan I which is a carcinogen. It has been outlawed in many countries in Europe.
  • Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue) like the others, is made of a coal tar compound. It is poorly absorbed in the gastro-intestinal tract, and can react with certain bile pigments to form green feces. (poo!)
  • Green No. 3 is a Triarylmethane dye, which mean it's derived from Triphenyl methane. This dye has been found to create tumors and has a Mutagenic effect. (Holy steaming potatoes batman!!) The European Union has outlawed this dye for food.

    Our family has been doing our best to be food coloring free for about 7 years. I am by no means an expert, so I've provided a bunch of links I used to read up on it. We aren't perfect (who is???) and of course now and then we slip and have something with food coloring. We jump right back on that wagon though, it's definitely a lifestyle change.

    1. Wise Geek
    2. Wikipedia
  • 1 comment:

    1. Imitation Vanilla (or vanilan) not sure if I spelled it right because there's no longer anything with it in my house - is also petrolium based and was a problem just like red dye for my kiddo.



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