Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food Dyes That Can Trigger Allergic Reactions

Food Dyes That Can Trigger Allergic Reactions

Due to the magic and wonder of food dyes in the manufacturing and processing divisions of the food industry, the general consumer is led through a myriad of intense colors and textures with every trip to the grocery store. Unknown to that consumer though, many seemingly common staples we purchase repetitively are "dressed up" to awaken the senses of the buying public.

Some examples of this, oranges are not necessarily orange in color when they are picked ripe right of the tree. Many times food dyes are added to get that beautiful orange sheen. A ripe orange is actually often shades of gray or splotchy orange in color.

Tomatoes, when picked, can be a cross between shades of green to different levels of pink. That bright juicy red color though is often washed on with food dyes.

Red cherries when processed always turn gray but the buying public always visualizes a cherry as red. Enter more food dyes.

Dyes for cosmetic purposes often get utilized for processed foods because cooking, baking, heat and light, temperature changes etc. can all lead to a lack of visual appeal in the final product.

Common Man-Made Food Dyes Used In The Market

The manufacturing industry itself formerly had 100's of food dye selections which was available for their use. As the years progressed, this number has been whittled down considerably. Today, the seven most popular man-made colors used include the following:

Blue #1, brilliant blue, FCF, E133, available in the form of both dyes and lake
Blue #2, Indigotine, E132, dyes and lake
Green #3, Fast Green, FCF, E143 dyes and lake
Red #40, Allura Red, AC, E129, dyes and lake
Red #3, Erythrosine, E127, dye only
Yellow #5, Tartrazine, E102, Dye only
Many of these colors come in two versions, as shown above. They are known as Dyes (water-soluble) and Lakes (not water-soluble, generally for hard candies). Many people though show a sensitivity or an allergic reaction to the colorings used on this list. Reported complaints often include the following:

breakout of skin rashes or hives anywhere on the body
swelling, especially at the site of contact with the dye
stomach and digestive complaints
severe reactions possible ending in an anaphylactic reaction
increased rates, signs and symptoms of Autism or ADHD
Natural Food Dyes - How Do They Differ?

Just the words natural food dyes leads many to believe this group must be a step above the synthetic (man-made) varieties. Research, the medical community and public pressure has found many in the manufacturing industry willing to switch to natural food dyes for their source of colorings. This group includes:

Caramel coloring made from caramelized sugar
Annatto is a red-orange dye grown from seed
Chlorophyll- a green dye from plant pigments
Cochineal- a red carmine from an insect
Beetroot, Turmeric, Saffron, Paprika & Elderberry Juice- All taken from the plant or spice and used natural for color.
Titanium Dioxide- compound which yields the color white
Silver, Gold or Aluminum- each of these are used as themselves.
Almost every one of these has yielded an appropriate substitute except the cochineal red.

Obtaining a food dye from an entire species of insects, grown and slaughtered for the sole purpose of obtaining its red coloring has many people upset and vocal about finding even another alternative.

So, to date, protecting yourself or a family member from artificial food dyes or avoiding the carmine-colored cochineal beetle is only possible by carefully watching the ingredient labels on all packaged or processed foods.

About The Author:Kathi Robinson

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1 comment:

Marcia said...

You won't see artifically diet cherries except for those in jars. Fresh cherries are not dyed. Oranges from Florida are seasonally dyed so that they look orange year 'round.

BUT we shouldn't be eating food that are chemically dyed anytime of year! Watch the video at