Purple sweet potatoes are a healthier source of red food coloring than crushed bugs that produce a vivid red juice. So is lycopene from tomatoes. There is too much red dye number 4 made from crushed insects. The red food dye also is known as carmine or cochineal extract. On October 17, 2013, the group known as Citizens for Health asked consumers to help develop a list of foods containing food dyes made from crushed bugs. Check out the article, "Don’t Hide Bugs In The Yogurt."
Some red food dye comes from purple sweet potatoes, and when making red foods at home, you also can use beet juice or organic red beet juice powder to color your red velvet cakes or other foods. However, Citizens for Health is compiling a list of foods with a goal to have accurate instead of 'transparent' labeling of food products. Check out the article, "Read Your Labels: Often Confused with Sugar, this Ingredient Wins the Distinction of “Worst of the Worst” In the Citizens for Health “Read Your Labels” Campaign."
Consumers don't want transparent food product labeling
It's not good enough just to put on a label a generalized term such as food coloring added, according to an October 17, 2013 Cox newspapers news article by Susan Salisbury, "Campaign to rid foods of red dye made from bugs is heating up." Does anyone with clout listen to consumer's research on what's being put into foods? Check out the site, "Join Citizens for Health’s Freedom of Health Press Project." Or learn more about that project."
You can sign a petition that began with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to take action and take part in using berries instead of bugs to color foods. The point of the petition is to ask companies to label products containing insect-based food dye. Better yet, it would be less of a disgust factor if companies switched to plant-based food colorings instead of red food dye made from crushed insects.
Both can be called natural colors, but it makes a difference is the red food dye comes from plants or from crushed bugs. asking food companies to better label products that contain the insect-based ingredient or switch to plant-based alternatives. Some companies switched to lycopene from tomatoes instead of the juice, more neutrally called 'extracts' from crushed insects as vivid red food coloring in foods or beverages.
For many years, companies didn't want to let consumers know from where the red food dye originated
So the companies merely labeled the red food coloring as "color added." But in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began requiring food and cosmetic manufacturers to list the ingredient made from the juice of a tiny beetle. Other companies listed the ingredient as "Red Dye No. 4."
You're going to find this listing at the current date in thousands of processed foods and beverages. Examples mentioned in the news article, "Campaign to rid foods of red dye made from bugs is heating up" include foods and drinks from Dannon and Yoplait yogurts to Tropicana fruit juices. Some people are allergic to the bug juice. Others who are vegans, or those who eat only Kosher and Halal foods and don't want any juice extracting by crushing insects in their food to turn it red, just don't want bug extracts in food.
Most people still don't know that foods on the list include Nestle Nesquik strawberry chocolate cookie sandwich, Nature’s Way Alive Women’s 50 plus vitamins, Hot Pockets Snackers, Betty Crocker Red Velvet Cake Mix, Rainbow Mentos, Harry & David Valentine candy mix and more foods that are colored red. You're not getting the juice of fruit or vegetables in foods on the list
If you want to bake a red velvet cake, instead of using the mix with the bug juice-derived red food coloring in it, color your own cake with beet juice or beet juice powder (organic) mixed with water or other liquids. It's still going to take a long time, probably many years before bug juice is taken out of food. But some companies have taken it out of their desserts. You can check out the severe allergy reports to the coloring reported to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
What happens when a consumer reads on a cup of yogurt that has flavors of strawberry, raspberry, or cherry, but instead is colored with red dye made from crushed insects? Maybe it tastes as tart as a berry, but what about the coloring rather than the taste or flavor? Where did the red hue come from?
If you ask the yogurt companies why they use carmine, the usual answer might be that it's approved as safe by the FDA and has a vivid red food color. But so does beet juice. The reason many companies use the bug dye is that it has a longer shelf life, which means more opportunities to earn some income from sales than if the product was flavored with a plant-based color from potatoes, beets, berries, or other plant-derived sources.
Campaign to rid foods of red dye from bugs is gaining momentum
Companies worry more about having the most vivid red hue throughout the longest shelf life because if a product such as a cup of processed yogurt has a shorter shelf life, it may not earn as much income for the company. Is it about the best color or the healthiest color when thinking in terms of vivid color and longer shelf life that industry wants. Or are the industries more concerned about the health of those with allergies to the bug-based coloring?
The coloring in question that comes from crushed insects is called carmine or cochineal extract. It's not just in cake mixes that advertise "red velvet" or yogurt and other sweets. The same carmine or cochineal extract also is found in fake crab and lobster, fruit cocktail cherries, port wine cheese, lumpfish eggs/caviar and liqueurs, candies, ice creams, processed foods and beverages, as well as in drugs and cosmetics, according to the Cox newspapers article, "Campaign to rid foods of red dye made from bugs is heating up." Meanwhile, the list of foods containing this red food coloring is growing, with the help of consumers' research.
Lycopene from tomato extract is healthier than crushed bug juice as a red food coloring
By the end of June 2012 Starbucks finally started using lycopene, from tomato extract instead of tropical cochineal insects that are dried and crushed. See the April 19, 2012 Los Angeles time article, Starbucks to drop beetle juice from the menu - latimes.com and the April 19, 2012 Silobreaker article, Starbucks plans to stop using dried insect extract.
In the meantime, the smoothies, raspberry swirl cakes, birthday cake pops, mini doughnuts with pink icing and red velvet whoopee pie will still be colored red or pink by the dried extract of tropical 'cochineal' insects. The complaints from vegetarians and anyone else who didn't want to eat insect extract in desserts held sway to convince Starbucks to use tomato extract, lycopene instead to color foods and smoothies red or pink.
The red dye from crushed beetles will be replaced by vegetarian lycopene, which some people take as a supplement, since it's an extract of tomatoes and red-hued. Up until June 2012, however, the tropical, cochineal insects continued to be dried and processed into a vivid reddish coloring product. Companies wanted longer shelf life. Customers wanted plant-based colorings.
Customers didn't want smoothies with insect extract used to color the beverage or cakes tinted with the reddish insect extract imported from Latin America. The insect tint or 'dye' also is used to color fabrics and cosmetics
It's a pigment put in some foods and beverages but is not vegan. Last year, about 6,500 Starbucks customers protested they didn't want to eat the crushed bug pigment in foods. To persuade Starbucks to change the ingredient that colors foods and beverages red or pink, the customers went to Change.org to sign a petition asking Starbucks to stop coloring food with crushed insect extract.
The insect extract also is known as a carmine (red) dye. To process it, up to 70,000 insects per pound have to be crushed to make the food, fabric, or cosmetic dye. Customers had to wait another few months until June 2012 before Starbucks, headquarted in Seattle, started to use the tomato extract, lycopene instead for red food coloring.
How customers found out that Starbucks uses crushed insect extract as red food coloring focused on the This Dish is Vegetarian website, where it was disclosed that the strawberry sauce was reddened with the insect-derived food dye and not with natural food colorings such as tomato extract or beet juice.
Check out the Los Angeles Times article, Starbucks to drop beetle juice from the menu - latimes.com for further details of how the facts were disclosed to the This Dish is Vegetarian website. The anonymous vegan person disclosing the details happened also to work for Starbucks.
Sometimes it takes an employee whistleblower to reveal to customers what goes into their food or food colorings. Starbucks finally agreed to change to lycopene from tomatoes instead of using the tropical crushed bug dye as red food coloring
The question now for shoppers is how many other processed food manufacturers color foods red or pink with the same crushed insect extract instead of the healthier choice, even if for moral reasons, tomato extract. Food has to appeal to most people and tomato is preferable to insects in edibles.
Another reason to change what goes into food dyes is that some people could be allergic to the insect. After all, you have people allergic to shellfish. If someone would have had an allergic or adverse reaction without even knowing that smoothies and cakes were colored with crushed bug extract rather than vegetable juice-derived coloring, it becomes a deeper issue.
Customers of eateries need a list of ingredients of what goes into various foods, which is not provided at most restaurants regarding food dyes.
You may not see the food coloring listed either on packaged foods. What usually is printed on an ingredients label is "natural food colorings" or "natural spices and flavors."
The word 'natural' can refer to bugs or tomatoes or anything else found in nature. Unless a menu says entirely vegan, the shopper doesn't know about everything that may be in the food item. Some food colorings could be vegan because they're not derived from insects or animals and still be synthetic when what 'vegan' means is that the food coloring or food comes entirely from vegetables, grains, or fruit.
Any given food label or menu doesn't say from what the food the coloring had been extracted such as a water or heat process or extracted with chemicals. An example might be decaffeinated tea with the caffeine extracted by water.
What information restaurants provide instead usually are calorie counts rather than ingredients, unless they emphasize specific healthy ingredients to promote the menu items to the more health-conscious or vegetarian-friendly customer, such as what fats are used in frying.
Back in 2012, Starbucks website noted, "Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world." The Christian Science Monitor even covered the news of Starbucks changing to lycopene that ran in June 2012. See the April 20, 2012 article, Starbucks to stop using 'crushed bug dye' in drinks.
The Seattle-based coffee chain said in a blog post on its website back in April 19, 2012 that it made the decision to reformulate its drinks after feedback from consumers prompted a 'thorough' evaluation. The question remains: If no customers signed a petition of complaint, would there have been changes? Check out Starbucks menu.
Red food dye can come from tomatoes, potatoes, beets, or berries and other plant-based sources
Wouldn't you rather red food coloring come from beet juice powder or lycopene from tomatoes or yellow food coloring to come from turmeric or other vegetables, herbs, or spices that have been safer to eat in small amounts for eons? The alternative that some food companies have used in the past included red food coloring, carmine red dye (Carmine and Cochineal) from crushed beetles or yellow food coloring (Sudan I (Solvent Yellow) from a carcinogenic substance. Will purple sweet potatoes replace artifical food dyes? Or will companies insist on using bug juice because bugs are natural animal sources and can be called natural coloring because they come from a living creature. After all, plants and bugs are both natural sources. Yet most consumers prefer plant sources for food colorings, not bugs.
See, "Scientists Make Red Food Dye From Potatoes, Not Bugs" and "Purple sweet potatoes good replacement for red food colouring bugs." Or see the article, "Purple Sweet Potato A Contender To Replace Artificial Food Dyes." If purple sweet potatoes can replace artifical food dyes, why aren't more companies letting consumers know they will be eating coloring from potatoes rather than from bugs instead of just labeling a food 'coloring added'? Of course, by being vague on a label, the company doesn't have to spend money changing the labels on printed food packaging whenever they change their food colorings.
Consumers need to know what's in the processed food or supplements they buy in eateries or in supermarkets, what food colorings or additives are put into food to keep you coming back to buy more. Know what sweeteners, thickeners, dyes, stabilizers, flavors, glazing agents, humectants, enhancers, tracer gases, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents, flavor extenders, color preservatives, anti-foaming agents, and other additives in addition to food dyes are going into what you eat daily.
And on the other hand, you also need to know what are the 10 healthiest foods for your family. What are the 10 best foods for you and your children? They are listed as the following:
The 10 Best Foods for Your Health from the Center for Science in the Public Interest 10 Worst and Best Foods List
1. Sweet Potatoes
3. Unsweetened Yogurt
5. Wild Salmon
9. Butternut Squash
10. Leafy Greens
What does the FDA say about brightly colored food colorings in cheese, nondairy cheese substitutes, & fruit juices?
Are the bright orange food colorings in products such as cheese or nondairy cheese substitutes and various fruit juices or other soft drinks adversely affecting your child? Last year a 72-year old Sacramento grandfather, shopping in my local food market commented on food colorings put in cheese, especially vegan-type cheese substitutes.
He explained, "I'm tired of those nine different dyes in some food products, like the bright, almost iridescent orange food coloring manufacturers put in cheese to get kids to look and eat, as if they need eye candy, or the blazing red food coloring put in berry juices to attract shoppers to buy. Strawberry juice is never bright red."
He continued reading the local daily newspaper aloud as he stood in back of us on the supermarket check-out line, striking up a conversation with the persons in front of him, our family, as he read from a particularly relevant article on the possible link between food dyes and hyperactivity. Since that time, I've been buying white cheese or tofu cheese without the bright orange food coloring put in varieties of American-style cheese or nondairy cheese substitutes.
So why do scientists find the news so controversial?
Could it be because of all the variables when studies were done? Maybe if your child likes a bright orange food, you might put a cooked yam or sweet potato, a glass of carrot juice, or butternut squash salad on your child's plate instead of a slice of cheese dyed a brilliant orange color to attract attention.
Even after almost a year, we remember that shopper in the long queue at the supermarket check-out line, brought to our attention the Washington Post article, "FDA to Examine Link Between Artificial Food Dyes and Hyperactivity," by Lyndsey Layton. The article was published on March 26, 2011, today, in the print edition of the Sacramento Bee. What it basically reports is that the FDA is concerned whether food dye has a link to hyperactivity.
"Why don't manufacturers turn juices more red with a drop of beet juice?" The shopper asked. "Or greener with a drop of kale or spinach juice? And why can't cheese be its natural color instead of turning it pumpkin orange to look more like a toy to a child's eyes? And why is it called American-style cheese?
"Why does American style come to mean synthetic color dyes in some foods? I'm buying raw organic cheddar cheese with it's natural color. And I don't want antibiotics put in my cheese, or calcium chloride dumped into my canned tomatoes, or sodium benzoate in my pickles to preserve the color. They don't do that all the time in Europe, at least not on some small family organic farms." The shopper had pointed how much more he paid to shop at upscale food markets.
Finally, the FDA is examining once more various artificial ingredients put into processed foods, some cheeses, and juices, including synthetic colorings and additives to find out whether these colorings or other additives are linked to hyperactivity in children and various other health effects in people of all ages.
A few years ago on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began their two-day meeting to discuss the various scientific studies behind artificial dyes and whether the government should restrict the use of these food dyes. Most people may not realize how many artificial food dyes are put into food instead of using natural food colorings such as beet, carrot, or kale juice.
Why use artificial colorings instead of the color of real vegetables? It's to attract the shopper or the individual's child to come back and buy more.
Food is styled. It's made to look pretty by adding dye
The chemical food colorings go into pickles, bagels, juices, cheese balls, and other foods, including beverages. Why must berry juice be colored bright red by dyes?
You could check out food research services websites, such as Corvus Blue. See the site, Corvus Blue LLC: Listing : Food Product Design Buyer's Guide. Corvus Blue is a nutritional technology think tank specializing in the natural products industry, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and functional foods.
Food manufacturers have used dyes for hundreds of years, but why not use natural food extracts that have strong colors such as spinach juice or for black items, the coloring from black sesame seeds or black rice? Most people who eat squid, octopus, or shrimp and crab don't mind that squid ink goes into pasta. After all, it's seafood. But some people such as vegans, vegetarians, and those whose religious customs forbid shell fish, squid, and any seafood without scales won't want to eat squid ink in foods. If they want black foods, they can choose black beans or black rice and other vegan sources of black food coloring instead of squid ink.
You even have squid ink put into pasta.
In a choice between squid ink and black dye, maybe most people would choose the coloring from a food itself rather than an artificial coloring chemical. The problem here is artificial ingredients that were deemed safe by the FDA may not be safe now that scientific studies suggest that color additives might be linked to hyperactivity in children. And there may be other health effects to all ages. How do you feel and what do you think? Should the government restrict the use of food additives?
Check out the site for the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee for the Environmental Protection Agency. See the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee Meeting Agendas. Also check out, Office of Children's Health Protection | US EPA. What can you do here in Sacramento to research what food additives may be linked to specific health effects in children and adults?
Last year there was a meeting of the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) on March 30 and 31 in Arlington, VA. The CHPAC was created to advise the Environmental Protection Agency on science, regulations, and other issues relating to children's environmental health. Perhaps you could write a letter citing research.
What else would you do to get food manufacturers who put food dyes in candy made from fruit?
You could let the public and the manufacturers know about the emerging science that suggests food dyes may harm children, if you have studies that show proof.
The studies that the FDA are looking at on Wednesday include one study sponsored by the British government that found children given foods made with a food preservative, sodium benzoate and some artificial dyes showed an increase in hyperactivity.
What will you do when told the studies are controversial? But what about all the variables such as what the parents eat at home, the gender of the child, what the child ate before the study began, and other variable factors create a controversy. Scientists disagree on the association between food dyes and hyperactive behavior. But in 2009, after numerous studies on what causes hyperactivity in children, the British government urged food makers to stop using six dyes.
The issue here is that shoppers aren't told what those six dyes are. So how can they look for the names of the dyes on the food labels under the ingredients section? How will shoppers find out which six food dyes were tested? In Europe, the European Parliament required foods containing the tested dyes to carry a label warning that products "may have an adverse effect on the activity and attention in children."
You might take your child off any processed foods. But what happens when the child eats breakfast or lunch at a public school? If you look at American food manufacturers such as Kellogg and Mars International, according to the article, "FDA to examine food dye amid link to hyperactivity," the six dyes mentioned by the European Parliament were replaced with other dyes, including some natural ones made from fruits and vegetables.
So why don't American manufacturers of food products replace those "other dyes" with fruit and vegetable color instead of simply replacing one dye for another dye? And how many foods fed to children, and even babies, contain sodium benzoate as a preservative?
Perhaps it's time to start feeding children organic food made from products without preservatives to keep them focused. You could help in Sacramento by volunteering for associations such as those affiliated with the Center for Science in the Public Interest , which has petitioned the FDA to ban artificial dyes or at least put a warning label on the products. But what about sodium benzoate? Check out the list of the 10 Worst and Best Foods from Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Dyes are regulated by the FDA
Of course, the food industry puts its foot down because it means losing money and jobs when it says the studies are inconclusive. Sure, some studies my not be conclusive, but as a parent, you know what happens to your child when you feed processed foods and when you feed natural foods that have no preservatives or coloring added.
The dyes are regulated by the FDA. But the food industry will point out that other ingredients used in food don't required FDA approval before those are added to foods. And to get the food industry's side of the story, the FDA does require approval of food dyes before they are used commercially. But again, as a parent, it's up to you to observe your own child's behavior on and off any ingredient added to food you don't prepare yourself from scratch without additives. When you buy juices, find out what dye is the juice colored with and what preservatives are used in fruit, cheese, or juice.
Numerous juice bars often use a basic mix, some frozen fruit, and ice in a basic smoothie. But when you ask to see the basic mix that sweetens the natural fruit and ice, you might see that the basic mix also contains natural flavors. But what are natural flavors? Where can you find out what "natural flavors" means when you see them added to your nutritional supplements or your juice bar smoothies?
Do the natural flavors refer to fruit juice concentrate, plant extracts such as carotenoids, or specific spices or all of the above and more? Or do natural flavors also mean MSG, calcium chloride, or other 'chemicals' and minerals in packaged foods? Or do natural flavors include food extracts such as artichoke extract or olive leaf extract?
What ingredients are in natural flavors listed on numerous food package labels?
When you buy some containers of nondairy milk substitute in most supermarkets, you may see on the ingredients label that there are "natural flavors." The word 'natural' could mean anything from fruit juices to MSG. Natural flavorings also may include unspecified spices. Is there any way to find out which flavorings and what spices? You may have to phone or write to the manufacturer to find out what "natural flavorings" or "natural flavors" actually mean or what "natural spices" refers to as well. Natural spices could be anything from black pepper to rosemary.
And if you're allergic to one of the spices, you won't know what spice is in the processed food. Check out the labels on salads at some eateries. How do you know what natural spices or flavorings contain? What if you're allergic to a certain type of flavoring or a specific spice such as sage or rosemary. Is there an actual list you can send away for ahead of time of what actual ingredients are in your food or vitamin or other nutritional supplements?
How accurate are the labels on supplements that many consumers buy?
Are they 'natural' or synthetic? Do you know what additives are in them? And if you're trying to prevent or reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, has anyone in any health food store directed you to taking a small amount of magnesium? How do you really know that what's in the container is the same as what's written on the ingredients label?
Did you know that new studies also show that magnesium supplements may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes? Overweight participants, according to the researchers, were in the latest study. Has your doctor suggested you eat more magnesium from 'green' foods such as green, leafy vegetables as well as 'green' foods in the other definition, that is environmentally green? Do you know how much magnesium you might need in order to reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes?
Artificial sweeteners may have some scary research studies about them. Check out the ABC News, February 13, 2013 "Top 9 Scary Food additives" article, by Bill Phillips, research by Leah Zerbe and Amy Rushlow, and the Editors of Men's Health. Also see the article, "14 Foods You Should Never Eat." Flavors are added to food to give the edibles a particular taste or scent. And other additives are put into processed foods to preserve texture, color, and taste, or to extend the shelf life.
For example, Health department administration officers destroyed reclaimed New Orleans roast chicken wings, chicken hamburgers and sauces from Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), contaminated by the cancer-causing food dye Sudan I March 18, 2005 in Xian of Shaanxi Province, China. KFC outlets in China years ago have stopped selling their New Orleans roast chicken wings and chicken hamburgers after the carcinogenic coloring, Sudan I was found in a sauce used in the products.
Local officials have stepped up inspections after discovering Sudan I in some locally available pickles and in a pepper sauce. But here in the U.S.A. people are concerned about how food additives in so many commercial foods might have an impact on consumer health.
When a label says natural flavorings, you may be surprised what that means, and you have no way of knowing which ingredients are in the food or supplement or whether you could be allergic to any of the natural flavors or natural seasonings because you don't know which additives, flavorings, food dyes, preservatives, seasonings, spices, herbs, and sweetening products are in the food if they're all under the label of "natural flavorings" or "natural colors. In addition to food coloring, there's also controversy over what type of sweeteners go into processed foods whether you buy them in a food market or in a restaurant or fast-food eatery.
Other red food dyes linked to health issues
You may want to limit or eliminate red food coloring and use beet juice instead. Avoid the food dye known as Red #3 (Erythrosine) and Red #40 (Allura Red). You can make red or orange food coloring by mixing turmeric and beet juice for an orange-red color, or mix blueberry juice and cranberry juice for a purple color and spirulina and water for a dark blue-green or aqua color.
As far as commercial foods, "Red #40" is the most widely used food dye in America put into commercial fruit cocktail, candy, chocolate cake, cereal, beverages, pastries, maraschino cherries, and fruit snacks. For foods you can eat with more safety, check out the article recommended by the Men's Health magazine article, "The 125 Best Packaged Foods in America. There are some packaged and convenience foods that are healthier and safer due to a limited use of the food additives you don't really need for your health.
The FDA has not been able to ban Red #3 even after it tried in the past. But if you look at animal studies, the particular red food dye was linked to thyroid tumors in rat studies. If it's still in food, it's no longer in drugs because the FDA managed to have the liquid form of the dye removed from external drugs and cosmetics. But what about the non-liquid form of the food coloring? See the articles, F.D.A. Limits Red Dye No. 3 - New York Times, Food Dyes - Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Food Dyes Linked to Behavioral Problems.
Yellow food coloring in cereals, puddings, bread mixes, chips, cookies, and condiments
Don't buy foods containing a huge amount of Yellow #5 (Tartrazine) and Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow). You don't need yellow food dye in your food for better health. If you want to color your own cereals, breads, chips, or cookies and condiments yellow, add a quarter teaspoon of turmeric and then add your flavorings or other seasonings. The second and third most common food colorings are these yellow food dyes. Check out the studies that have linked both dyes to learning and concentration disorders in children.
You can start with the animal studies demonstrating potential risks such as kidney and intestinal tumors. One study found that mice fed high doses of sunset yellow had trouble swimming straight and righting themselves in water. The FDA does not view these as serious risks to humans. But did you ever ask why? You may want to look at the study mentioned in the article, "FDA Probes Link Between Food Dyes, Kids' Behavior: NPR." Check out, Living in Color: The Potential Dangers of Artificial Dyes - Forbes and Food Dye and ADHD: Food Coloring, Sugar, and Diet.
A study by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency in 2007 showed that the consumption of foods containing dyes could increase hyperactive behavior in children. In the study of 3-, 8- and 9-year-olds, children were given three different types of beverages to drink. Then their behavior was evaluated by teachers and parents.
One of the drink mixtures contained artificial food colorings, including:
- Sunset yellow (E110)
- Carmoisine (E122)
- Tartrazine (E102)
- Ponceau 4R (E124)
It also contained the preservative sodium benzoate. The second drink mixture included:
- Quinoline yellow (E104)
- Allura red (E129)
- Sunset yellow
It also had sodium benzoate. The third drink mixture was a placebo and contained no additives.
Artificial coloring additives: Any behavioral links?
Researchers found that hyperactive behavior by the 8- and 9-year-olds increased with both the mixtures containing artificial coloring additives. The hyperactive behavior of 3-year-olds increased with the first beverage but not necessarily with the second.
They concluded that the results show an adverse effect on behavior after consumption of the food dyes, according to the article, Food Dye and ADHD: Food Coloring, Sugar, and Diet. What other food additives may not be touted by the public, but are labeled as natural flavorings?
Another food additive you don't want is Castoreum that comes from the anal gland of a beaver that's used to mark territory. Why would scientists or food manufacturers put anal gland juice from an animal in food? It's used as vanilla or raspberry flavoring in processed foods because that's what it can be processed to taste like to humans. Instead of using real vanilla bean flavor or real raspberries, it's cheaper to use this beaver anal gland juice.
You'll never see it on a label because the government allows the title of natural flavoring to natural flavoring, and what's more natural than juice from the anal gland of beavers? For further information, get more details from Men's Health Daily Dose newsletter. If you want to read more about Castoreum, check out the sites, Castoreum - 18 Grossest Food Ingredients - Health.com, Natural Flavors and Castoreum, Safety assessment of castoreum extract as a food ingredient. Labels can say it's a natural ingredient because it comes from nature and is not synthetic.
You'll see on many food labels and nutritional supplement labels the word "natural flavors." You are not told what natural flavors are in that product. So you won't know whether you're allergic or not to any particular "natural ingredient." Some supplement manufacturers use the word natural sweeteners or natural flavors, which can mean anything that comes from an animal, plant, or person. Check out the PDF file article, "Beaver casoreum."
The federal government notes that "Castoreum extract (CAS NO. 8023-83-4; FEMA NO. 2261) is a natural product prepared by direct hot-alcohol extraction of castoreum, the dried and macerated castor sac scent glands (and their secretions) from the male or female beaver." It's used not only as a food flavor ingredient, but also is put into some perfumes. It has been used extensively in perfumery and has been added to food as a flavor ingredient for at least 80 years.
Both the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regard castoreum extract as generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Acute toxicity studies in animals indicate that castoreum extract is nontoxic by both oral and dermal routes of administration and is not irritating or phototoxic to skin. Skin sensitization has not been observed in human subject tests.
Castoreum extract possesses weak antibacterial activity. A long historical use of castoreum extract as a flavoring and fragrance ingredient has resulted in no reports of human adverse reactions. On the basis of this information, low-level, long-term exposure to castoreum extract does not pose a health risk.
If you read the review of the additive, its objective is to evaluate the safety-in-use of castoreum extract as a food ingredient. People may not like the idea of natural flavoring on a label referring to the anal gland body secretion (juice) of beavers being put in their food products or supplements. The human mind usually thinks of "natural flavors" referring to plant extracts, but this isn't always so.
Keep in mind that natural flavors could mean anything coming from an animal, plant, or any other living creature or even minerals, since rocks and soil also are found in nature. What you'd want manufacturers to put on any given label is to state from where did the natural flavor come?
You might hear back from manufacturers that you can only print so much on a tiny label. But really, the word 'castoreum' is shorter and more precise than the two words, "natural flavorings." At least then, you'll know what's on the label is what's in the container at least for that one additive. Check out Castoreum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more in-depth details on additives. According to the Wikipedia site, Food Additives, they can be divided into several groups, although there is some overlap between them.
There's much more to know about what ingredients go into processed and packaged or restaurant foods than coloring, flavors, and sweeteners. And that includes what's added to packaged, ready-made salads sold in food markets, such as adding calcium chloride to some salads to preserve the color of the vegetables and the affects the additions may have on people who have adverse reactions to various additives.