Food manufacturers know that the visual appearance of food has a strong impact on the consumer experience, and they go to great lengths to make sure processed foods look beautiful and appetizing. Food dyes are often added to packaged foods to improve the appearance of the product, and it has been found that these food dyes can cause serious health problems.
FDA and Food Dye BanningThe FDA banned Red Dye No. 2 a while ago, because research studies found that large doses of this food dye could cause rats to develop cancer. Even though this food dye is now prohibited, there are still a number of other food dye ingredients on the market. Some of these colors have also been linked with cancer formation and other health problems, but at this point they have not been banned by the FDA.
Food Dye Ingredients to AvoidThese are some of the food dyes that are currently on the market. If you see these ingredients added to a product, then don’t buy that product:
- Blue #1 & #2: These ingredients are often added to pet food, baked goods, candy, and beverages. They have been linked to cancer and tumor formation in mice and hamsters.
- Green #2024: Often added to beverages and candy, but it isn’t a commonly used food dye. This ingredient has been linked with bladder cancer. Additionally, researchers have suggested that it might also contribute to an increase in tumors in hamsters.
- Red #3: Most commonly used to color baked goods, candy, fruit cocktail, and cherries. Researchers found that this food dye caused thyroid tumors in rats.
- Red #40: This ingredient is usually contaminated with carcinogens such as benzidine, and researchers found that it increased tumor incidence and death rate in hamsters who were exposed to it.
- Yellow #5: Another food dye that is usually contaminated with carcinogens such as benzidine. Researchers found that it mimics the function of estrogen in the body.
- Yellow #6: Often added to candy, baked goods, gelatin, sausage, and beverages, this ingredient has been associated with tumor formation in the kidneys and adrenal gland.