Dying for Food Dyes

—Ally Laudon, Staff Writer—

The American FDA has approved 9 different color dyes to be used in consumer

dye1
(Photo Courtesy of Selena N. B. H.)

food products. American companies are adamant about keeping food dyes legal because it is believed that a more vibrant colored food will sell better. This is because the brain sees something brightly colored and connects that to food being ripe or containing the nutrients the body craves. This might seem like a positive to the companies selling these additive-rich foods; however, there are several effects linked to the dyes Red #40, Yellow #5 and 6, and Blue #1.

 

dye4
(Photo Courtesy of Ashley Linh Trann)

In food dyes there are several ingredients that are used in beauty products including mascara and lipstick. Petroleum is also a major component of food dyes. With such harsh ingredients, there have been studies with animals that had consumed food dyes and the tests showed that there was an increase in cancers, damage to organs, and defects in the fetus. However, in children the most common effect, especially from Red #40, is behavioral problems. Many children have this particular dye in abundance in their diets and the consequence is hyperactivity.

Due to the growing distaste with the effects that dyeing foods has caused, the European

dye5
(Photo Courtesy of Micheelle Tribe)

Union has banned food dyes from being used in their food supply. The results of studies was enough to persuade the the European Parliament to either place warning labels on the foods that contained any of the few approved dyes, but for children, food dye is completely removed as a result of the behavioral issues shown. If countries in Europe have mostly removed food dyes, especially the most harmful: Red #40, Yellow #5 and #6 and Blue #1, then why are they still legal for distribution and consumption in the United States?