Yesterday I went to the grocery store looking to find the brand of rice crackers I like. Unfortunately, King Kullen no longer carries them, so I went looking for another brand, which I found in their “Healthy Food Aisle” (on a side note, I can’t get over how supermarkets label one or two aisles as health food – are they openly saying that the rest of their food is not healthy?) Anyway… in this health aisle, I found another brand. I turned the package over to read the ingredients and low and behold – it contains food dyes yellow 5 and 6! Not sure how this is considered healthy – just because they are rice crackers? This serves as a reminder to always read your labels – especially if you are pregnant or giving the food to your children whose body is still developing!
I came across this list of food dyes today. All of the following information is from The Center For Science in the Public Interest and can be found at: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf this article goes very in depth on each individual dye and is worth taking a look at.
FD&C Blue No. 1, or Brilliant Blue, is a water soluble coloring used in many baked goods, beverages, des- sert powders, candies, cereals, drugs, and other products. Blue 1 received FDA approval for general use in foods and ingested drugs in 1969. In 1982, the FDA permanently approved the color for use in externally applied drugs and general use in cosmetics excluding the area of the eye. An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice, and a preliminary in vitro study raised questions about possible effects on nerve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. The dye can also cause hypersensitivity reactions.
Blue 2 is widely used to color beverages, candies, pet foods, and many other foods and drugs. It cannot be considered safe given the statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. It should not be used in foods.
Citrus Red 2, which is permitted only for coloring the skins of oranges (especially Florida oranges) not used for processing, is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary blad- der and possibly other organs. It is only used at minuscule levels and only on orange peels, but it still has no place in the food supply.
Green 3 is one of the least-used dyes, but may be found in candies, beverages, dessert powders, ice cream, sorbet, and other foods, as well as ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics (FDA 1982a). It 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.
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.
Red 3 is used in maraschino cherries, sausage casings, oral drugs, baked goods, and candies. It 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 (combi- nations 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.
Red 40, is approved for use in bever- ages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics and, in terms of pounds consumed, is by far the most-used dye.It 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.
Yellow 5, also known as Tartrazine, is used in numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert pow- ders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, pet food, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.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.
Yellow 6 is used to color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin desserts, sausage, and numerous other foods, as well as cosmetics and drugs. In testing, 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.