Artificial food coloring, or food dye, has been linked to many side effects in both children and adults. Recent studies have also proven links to brain cancer, thyroid tumors and hypersensitivity reactions in rats.
Of course food dye makes our food very appealing. Colorful cereal and candy make children’s mouths water and even in our everyday foods such as bagels, crackers and cheese you can find food dye as one of the additives. The bright color not only is attractive to our natural desires, but it tricks our minds to make us think the food is fresher. Some fruit is even dipped in food dye to create this illusion.
There are seven FDA-approved food dyes that are used in the U.S. Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Red 3, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Three of these colors contain carcinogens, which are substances or agents that tend to produce a cancer.
A meeting was held in March to discuss if warning labels should be placed on food that contains food dye after it was suggested that food dye was linked to hyperactivity in children. It was decided there was not enough evidence to prove this, however, the British government recently funded two studies that prove otherwise.
The European Food Safety Agency has labels on packages to warn of adverse health effects from food dye and the British Food Standards Agency suggests the avoidance of certain colored products to parents. Several companies, including Kraft, Walmart and Coca-Cola have removed food dye from products they send overseas. However, the products sold on the shelves of America haven’t changed. This makes me wonder!