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Food dyes more than a rainbow of colors: A rainbow of health risks including ADHD

Food dyes
Food Dyes were originally synthesized from cold tar, now come from petroleum and are of two types: water soluble dyes and insoluble lakes 1. Many food dyes have been banned because of their adverse effects on laboratory animals. A report by Kobylewski and Jacobson found that many of the currently approved dyes raise health concerns 2. Some food manufacturers including Kraft and M&M Mars have removed these dyes from the food supply in the UK but not the USA 3.

“Blue 1 was not found to be toxic in key rat and mouse studies, but an unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice, and a preliminary in vitro study raised questions about possible effects on nerve cells. Blue 1 may not cause cancer, but confirmatory studies should be conducted. The dye can cause hypersensitivity reactions 2.”

Where you can find it:
Frito-Lay Sun Chips French Onion and other Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; some JELL-O dessert products; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; Quaker Cap’N Crunch’s Crunch Berries; some Pop-Tarts products; some Oscar Mayer Lunchables; Duncan Hines Whipped Frosting Chocolate; Edy’s ice cream products; Skittles candies; Jolly Ranchers Screaming Sours Soft & Chew Candy; Eclipse gum; Fanta Grape 3.

“Blue 2 cannot be considered safe given the statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. It should not be used in foods 2.”

Where you can find it:
Froot-Loops; Post Fruity Pebbles; Pop-Tarts products; Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Strawberry Supreme Premium Cake Mix; Betty Crocker Frosting Rich & Creamy Cherry; M&M’s Milk Chocolate Candies; M&M’s Milk Chocolate Peanut Candies; Wonka Nerds Grape/Strawberry; pet foods 3.

“Citrus Red 2, which is permitted only for coloring the skins of oranges not used for processing, is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. The dye poses minimal human risk, because it is only used at minuscule levels and only on orange peels, but it still has no place in the food supply 2.”

Where you can find it:
fresh orange peels 3.

“Green 3 caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe, this little-used dye must remain suspect until further testing is conducted 2.”

Where you can find it:
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Glazed Doughnut Holes Blueberry, Safeway Select Mint Jelly, Panera Bread Very Chocolate Brownie, Edy’s Sherbet Tropical Rainbow 3.

“Orange B is approved for use only in sausage casings, but has not been used for many years. Limited industry testing did not reveal any problems 2.”

“Red 3 was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. All uses of Red 3 lakes (combinations of dyes and salts that are insoluble and used in low-moisture foods) are also banned. However, the FDA still permits Red 3 in ingested drugs and foods, with about 200,000 pounds of the dye being used annually. The FDA needs to revoke that approval 2.”

Where you can find it:
Many prepackaged baking mixes, Cupcake Pebbles, Quaker Bacon Instant grits, Kids Cuisine meals, Chips Ahoy Candy Blasts, Goldfish Colors, Hot Tamales candy 3.

“Red 40, the most-widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in a small number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Considering the safety questions and its non-essentiality, Red 40 should be excluded from foods unless and until new tests clearly demonstrate its safety 2.”

Where you can find it:
Some Frito-Lay products; some Yoplait products; JELL-O Gelatin desserts; Quaker Instant Oatmeal; Trix; Froot-Loops; Apple Jacks; some Pop-Tart products; Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; Oscar Mayer Lunchables products; Hostess Twinkies; some Pillsbury rolls and frostings; some Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines frostings; and more 3.

“Yellow 5 was not carcinogenic in rats, but was not adequately tested in mice. It may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, Yellow 5 causes, sometimes, severe hypersensitivity reactions in a small number of people and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Posing some risks, while serving no nutritional or safety purpose, Yellow 5 should not be allowed in foods 2.”

Where you can find it:
Nabisco Cheese Nips Four Cheese; Frito-Lay Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar and other Frito-Lay products; some Hunt’s Snack Pack Pudding products; Lucky Charms; Eggo waffles and other waffle products; some Pop-Tarts products; various Kraft macaroni and cheese products; Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper and other products 3.

“Yellow 6 caused adrenal tumors in animals, though that is disputed by industry and the FDA. It may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Yellow 6 adds an unnecessary risk to the food supply 2.”

Where you can find it:
Frito-Lay Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Crunchy and other Frito-Lay products; Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-ups; some JELL-O gelatin deserts and instant puddings; Fruity Cheerios; Trix; some Eggo waffle products; some Kid Cuisine Kung Fu Panda products; some Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners; some Betty Crocker frostings; some M&M’s and Skittles candies; Sunkist Orange Soda; Fanta Orange 3.

References:

(1) Institute for Agriculture and Trade and Policy. http://www.iatp.org/iatp/publications.cfm?accountID=421&refID=105204

(2) Kobylewski, Sarah, Jacobson, Michael; Center for Science in the Public Interest: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf

(2) Center for Science in the Public Interest http://www.iatp.org/brainfoodselector

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