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#5 (and my biggest soup box topic)

#5: Processed Foods Containing Artificial Food Colors and Dyes


 More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to US foods, including infant foods and foods targeted to young children. Meanwhile, many of these are banned in other countries, based on research showing toxicity and hazardous health effects, especially with respect to adverse effects on children’s behavior. For example, as reported in the featured article:

“Boxed Mac & Cheese, cheddar flavored crackers, Jell-O and many kids’ cereals contain red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2, the most popularly-used dyes in the United States. Research has shown this rainbow of additives can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other health problems in laboratory animals. Red 40 and yellow 6 are also suspected of causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that some dyes are also “contaminated with known carcinogens.”

Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. In 2009, the British government advised companies to stop using food dyes by the end of that year. The European Union also requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.

In countries where these food colors and dyes are banned, food companies like Kraft employ natural colorants instead, such as paprika extract, beetroot, and annatto. The food blogger and activist Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” recently launched a petition2 asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from American Mac & Cheese to protect American children from the well-known dangers of these dyes.


Answer Question

Asked by fiatpax at 2:15 PM on Sep. 22, 2013 in Health

Level 46 (221,572 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Boxed mac n cheese is just gross

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 2:18 PM on Sep. 22, 2013

  • Food dye almost killed my mom... I avoid it at all costs.

    Answer by Nimue930 at 2:31 PM on Sep. 22, 2013

  • Why can't all the companies use natural food dyes? Why do so many foods have to be dyed in the first place?

    Answer by Ballad at 3:39 PM on Sep. 22, 2013

  • We work to avoid food dyes. Even annatto does a number on my younger child, though smaller than the artificial stuff. Why do they need to make mac 'n cheese look like a neon explosion, anyway? Just one example, of course.


    Answer by May-20 at 4:42 PM on Sep. 22, 2013

  • I've heard that about the dyes. It seems like if you're on a limited budget or can't make everything by hand, that you grew yourself, you're pretty much screwed. I find it interesting that all these other countries have banned it for their citizens' safety, yet the great old U.S of A can't do the same. Hmmmm....

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 5:59 PM on Sep. 22, 2013

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