Dangerous Dyes Hidden in Your Food

Food has been colored since ancient times. There are many natural ingredients that can be used to change or enhance the color of food. Beet juice, for example, can dye foods pink and turmeric works for yellow. In recent years, the food industry has taken this to a whole new level.

BY: Jo Ann LeQuang


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Meanwhile, they’re out there. Most of the time, they appear on labels with the color and number designation. However, sometimes they lurk behind innocent-sounding names, like “caramel coloring,” which is sugar processed with ammonia or sulfites or both.

Everybody ought to know that neon-colored candies, colored baked goods and gaudy cereals are dyed. But there are synthetic dyes in food that we may never expect.

1. Cereal bars, which look like baked crust surrounding a fruit filling—may contain synthetic red, yellow, and blue colors.

2. Yellow cake mixes would make for a pasty-white cake if it didn’t have some yellow synthetic dyes. (In the olden days when people baked from scratch, yellow cake took its name and color from the egg yolks in it—today’s powdered eggs do not have the same effect.)

3. Many prepackaged food kits, such as Hamburger Helper—contain food dyes, particularly red dyes to help make the tomato sauce look like it might have some tomatoes in it.

4. Cereals, even the plain-colored varieties, often contain dyes.

5. Many beverages, from soda to sports drinks and even those “juice” drinks that are really flavored sugar water—can contain dyes. And don’t think the beverage has to be neon. Ginger ale contains dye.

6. Ice creams often contain dyes, particularly for flavors like strawberry.

Continued on page 3: Dyes »

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