The Scoop on Food Dyes

Jan 17, 2023
Do you or your kids ever eat Doritos, fruit snacks, fruit juices like V8, or Pop-Tarts? Many Americans do, but you may not know that all of those snacks have one thing in common - artificial food dyes - that could actually be harmful to kids' health.
These food dyes can contain cancer-causing contaminants, and studies have shown they can cause or exacerbate adverse neurobehavioral problems in children. This is because these artificial colorings can actually cause chemical changes to neurotransmitters in the brain, inflammation, and the depletion of minerals that are important to kids' growth and development.
So how do you know if the foods you’re eating contain artificial colors? Keep on reading for more.
If you’ve seen ingredients like Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, or Blue 1 in the foods you’re purchasing at the grocery store, these are artificial colors or food dyes that are commonly found in foods marketed to kids - think colorful candies, cereals, fruit snacks, ice pops, fruit juices, and even children’s medicine.
Some kids may be more sensitive to food dyes than others, but it’s recommended to reduce your consumption or avoid artificial food dyes entirely if possible. For more information on the impact of food dyes to health, you can review Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risk by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
It’s not always easy to identify artificial colors in the foods you’re purchasing. Luckily, there are some grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s that have banned products that contain artificial colors based on their health impacts.
In the European Union, there is a required warning label that must be applied to foods with synthetic dyes like Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 stating that the food “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” As a result, many products in Europe do not contain these ingredients at all, while the very same products in the US do.
Unfortunately, since no such warning label is required in the United States, and it can be hard to determine which stores carry these products, it’s up to you to read the labels of the foods you’re purchasing.
Luckily, Trash Panda flags all the different names of artificial food dyes so you can be aware of them when you’re shopping, without having to read every label. It also flags over 200 other ingredients like gums, flavorings, added sugar, and seed oils, so you can learn about the impact of these ingredients on your health and make better choices.
Ultimately, we're here to take the guesswork out of food labels so that you can make more informed decisions about the foods you’re buying for you and your family.
If you’re looking for healthy product recommendations without these weird ingredients, you can access our TP Approved shopping lists with a Membership to shop by diet, grocery store, and more. Perfect for finding your new favorite foods made with real ingredients. Happy scanning!