Red Dye 40: Safety, Side Effects and Food List
Red Dye 40:
Red dye 40, also known as Allura Red AC, has been widely used in food and beverage products since the 1960s and has been linked to serious health issues including cancer, respiratory disorders and allergies.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems it safe to consume, but the research linking it to serious health problems suggests otherwise.
This guide will detail the dangers of red dye 40, the products that contain it and its alternatives that you can use instead of the toxic food coloring.
How Does Red Dye 40 Affect People?
Studies on Red Dye 40 are limited, but a 2012 study from Australia may be instructive. In it, researchers gave mice three different types of diets—one without any artificial dyes; one that included only Red 3; and one that included Red 3 and Blue 1 (the combination found in many beverages).
The mice that ate both dyes weighed significantly more than those who didn’t—an effect the scientists linked to inflammation. The researchers also found evidence suggesting that Red 3 may interfere with your body’s ability to regulate fat storage.
Is It Possible to Avoid it All Together?
Read food labels diligently before purchasing. While it may be impossible to completely avoid Red No. 40 in packaged foods like cereals, candies and sodas, you can make choices that minimize your exposure.
Look for products that do not contain red coloring at all or those with color added from natural sources like beet juice or saffron. You can also look for products that use caramel as a coloring agent instead of cochineal extract.
When consuming prepared foods made by others (restaurants/cafeterias), make sure they are aware of your dietary restrictions so they can alter recipes to suit you best if possible.
Can You Get Rid of an Allergy?
If you can still eat red dye 40 but want to eliminate it from your diet for reasons such as health or safety, you’ll likely need a substitute for foods that contain it.
Most often red dye 40 is used in soft drinks and candy, but it also appears in breakfast cereal, salad dressing, sauces and desserts.
Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid foods with Red dye 40 or other artificial dyes if you have an allergy. You should consult a doctor before trying any of these tips if you think you might be allergic to food coloring.
Also, be aware that some people who are sensitive to one type of dye may react to others. To find out whether you’re allergic to Red dye 40 specifically, talk with your doctor about conducting an allergy test (called patch testing).
Is There A Way To Reduce Sensitivity?
If you’re like most people who have a mild to moderate sensitivity to red dye no. 40, you’re probably looking for ways to avoid it as much as possible.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to identify something as having been dyed with that particular dye just by reading its label.
Red dye is found in such a huge number of products that avoiding it completely can be really challenging. But here are some things you can do to reduce your exposure to red dye no. 40.
What Is The FDA Doing About This?: When there is an issue or concern about a food additive, product or ingredient, consumers often turn to their government agencies—in our case, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—for answers. To help address concerns about certain food additives and ingredients, including red dye no. 40 (FD&C Red No.
What Can I Do if I Have an Allergic Reaction?
If you experience hives, a runny nose or eyes that become red and watery, do not take Benadryl. Instead, go to your doctor or local emergency room immediately.
These symptoms may be signs of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. The condition can cause throat swelling and respiratory problems if left untreated.
If it is determined that you are suffering from anaphylaxis due to Benadryl exposure, you will likely receive epinephrine – a medication to reverse symptoms of anaphylaxis – by injection or through an EpiPen (device for delivering a shot of epinephrine).
Additional treatment options may include oxygen administration through a mask placed over your nose and mouth. Your doctor may also recommend keeping a dose of epinephrine on hand in case you have further reactions in the future.
How Does This Substance Affect Kids?
Since many food dyes are used in candy, children may be more susceptible to their effects. Red dye 40 is an ingredient in Jell-O candies, fruit snacks and other sweets that are marketed to kids.
In addition to heightened consumer awareness of these substances—and parents’ ability to question manufacturers directly—research on red dye has prompted more companies to remove it from products marketed to children.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that Kraft Foods made its popular macaroni and cheese without red dye as early as 2011. (It’s still available with red dye.)
A spokeswoman for Kraft says that while they don’t have any plans to change our recipe at this time, we’re always evaluating our recipes to ensure they meet or exceed consumers’ expectations.
Where Can I Avoid This Additive?
If you would like to know where else in your diet red dye 40 can be found, you are in luck. It is often used in products that we eat every day.
The list of items that contain red dye 40 include cherry Kool-Aid (1.47 mg per 8 oz serving), Jell-O Strawberry Whip dessert mix (0.42 mg per 1/3 cup serving), Frosted Cheerios (1.09mg per 3/4 cup serving) and a large number of other foods as well.
They are even in some medications such as Excedrin Migraine medicine (1 mg per tablet). Some packages of frozen fruits and vegetables may even contain small amounts of red dye #40.
In total, there are over 100 different food products on grocery store shelves that contain it.The most common reason for ingesting too much Red #40 is by accident.
When people are adding ingredients to their shopping cart they don’t always read labels carefully or they simply forget about it because it has been added so many times before.
Another way people ingest too much Red #40 is by eating processed meats such as hot dogs or lunch meat that have been cured with it.