Food Dyes: The Toxic Situation

Food Freedom Network
February 3, 2011

Over the decades, Americans have become riddled with disease, obesity and cancer. Most of these problems stem from the lack of unaltered food in our diets and nothing is being done to stop additives, and genetically modified foods that are massed produced for American consumption. Keep in mind that the United States is one of the only civilized nations that does not have strict regulation on nutrition labeling. Which gives companies free reign to lie about what goes into their food. The European Union (EU) recently placed regulations on labeling food dyes to inform consumers of the health risks he/she will take by ingesting food dyes: “the European Union required foods sold in Europe to include a warning label if they contain artificial food dyes, which said have been linked to health and behavioral problems, especially in children.” Please don’t take this as a promotion of the EU as a whole, the EU itself is a debate of it's own. The EU is presently in the process of banning the growth/sale of many beneficial medicinal herbs. All in all, the EU and the UN are a big problem for the world as a whole. But for the sake of the article at hand, we will continue.

Food dyes are one of the most widely used and dangerous additives that have been around for a long time, and took a turn for the worse in the early 1900s. They are often added to foods to mask poor product quality or spoiled stock; ‘natural’ variations in color; protecting foods from color loss; temperature; moisture; air; and storage conditions. “The bulk of chemically synthesized colors were derived from aniline, a petroleum product that in pure form is toxic. Originally, these were dubbed "coal-tar" colors because the starting materials were obtained from bituminous coal”. The following website describes the Toxicity of Aniline which is a man-made chemical that is still widely used in food dyes today. As you scroll through the site, nothing indicates that this chemical is safe in any regards for human consumption at any level. Food dyes are used in baked goods, beverages, candies, gelatin, sodas, juice, pet food and things you would not suspect such as Florida oranges and salmon.

99% of man-made chemicals do not degrade in the environment, why would they in our bodies? It is often said by many Nutritionists that if it is not living or growing out of the ground, do not put it in your mouth. Let’s hope that no active PETA members read this article or I will have a trouble on my hands. Anyway, there are more sites on the internet than not trying to debunk the supposed myth that chemicals are bad for you. However, if you take any nutritional label and research each chemical on its own, NONE of them have any positive side effects what-so-ever. In fact, most of them have very negative effects on human’s, but regulations say that if these ‘safe’ chemicals are consumed at very low parts per million that that individual will not see the side effects. Really people? It’s like saying: “Oh, you were just exposed to a little bit of radiation; it will not have a horrible affect on you.” I’m sorry, but radiation, is radiation, is radiation. It will have a negative impact on your body, no matter the amount. And keep in mind that most of the case studies done by the FDA are over the course of a short time period and not put into real life applications. For example, if you feed your child Lucky Charms ® every morning which has R40, B1 and Y5 & 6, you are feeding your child a bowl of death. B1 causes kidney tumors, nerve damage and hypersensitivity. R40 causes radioactive urine and guts, affects the stomach, lungs, and colon, urticaria, angiodema, hypersensitivity and lowered body weight in female births. Need I go on? So great, your child may scream or yell because he/she cannot have his/her favorite cereal, but be an adult and save your child from these toxic substances categorized as food. It may even be a better tactic to inform your child of what rubbish American’s so willingly put in their bodies and what side effects they have. Children are smarter than you believe.

Our bodies cannot process chemicals and study upon study has proven that. Even things such as sugar are no longer safe and here is what one of the studies said: Researchers at Purdue found that when animals were fed yogurt with saccharin they later consumed more calories, gained more weight, and put on more body fat than animals that were fed yogurt sweetened with glucose, a natural sugar with the same number of calories. Normally when we eat sugar, our body registers sweetness and comes to understand that very sweet things mean lots of calories. When you repeatedly drink a diet soda (that has food dye AND the infamous high fructose corn syrup), your appetite says, “okay here’s the sweetness, but there aren’t many calories – that must mean I have to a lot of sweet things to get my needed calories.” The next time you eat or drink something sweet, your body doesn’t recognize how many calories it holds so you overeat. Another Purdue study also found that animals continued to eat the artificial sweeteners, their metabolism started to ‘forget’ that most sweet things do have a lot of calories. Your body sees all chemicals, safe or unsafe, as foreign matter and when you continue to infiltrate your body with these chemicals your body starts to go “okay … I guess I’ll try to process this.” How many people to you know with intestinal problems (GERD, ulcers, etc), high blood pressure or diabetes? If you take a look at his/her diet, you will see exactly why.

You must ask yourself why food companies and the United States government allow the toxic chemicals into our food supply and why Americans willingly consume them. Appendix B provides a list of the dyes and their “inconclusive” side effects, especially those ‘checked’ by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has caused its own problems with the government by allowing certain food dyes to be exempt from any regulation.

Here is how the FDA itself explains their food dye certification/exemption list:

• Certified colors are synthetically produced (or human made) and used widely because they impart an intense, uniform color, are less expensive, and blend more easily to create a variety of hues. There are nine certified color additives approved for use in the United States (e.g., FD&C Yellow No. 6. See chart for complete list.). Certified food colors generally do not add undesirable flavors to foods.

• Colors that are exempt from certification include pigments derived from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals or animals. Nature derived color additives are typically more expensive than certified colors and may add unintended flavors to foods. Examples of exempt colors include annatto extract (yellow), dehydrated beets (bluish-red to brown), caramel (yellow to tan), beta-carotene (yellow to orange) and grape skin extract (red, green).

The sick part that the FDA does not inform you about is that most of these dyes are derived from toxic chemicals, aka ‘minerals’ (remember that food dyes are 100% man-made). Recently, the CSPI (Center for Science in Public Interest) has placed a lot of pressure on the FDA to re-review their current protection against harmful food dyes. The FDA states that they will hold a public hearing in 2011 for the potential ban of food dyes. I can already guess how this meeting is going to go: The FDA is going to ‘claim’ that there is not enough evidence to prove that food dyes are harmful to a significant portion of those tested and keep the regulations the same. Forget about the food companies taking responsibility because most take the same stance as Kellogg’s: "We regularly customize product recipes to meet consumer preferences and market requirements in the countries where our products are sold. In all markets, we only use ingredients that are safe and meet local regulatory standards," a spokeswoman for Kellogg's told Consumer Ally. So while the companies adhere to the ‘local regulatory standards’, they become crooks because they are willingly and almost knowingly placing toxic chemicals into the food supply. It is also good to remember that the FDA holds all companies responsible for ‘testing’ any substance that goes into food for safety. How often are those studies checked? My guess is only in the case of a lawsuit.

In the U.S., only a few companies have adopted dye-free policies even in the absence of government action. Those include Starbucks, which does not permit dyes in any of its beverages or pastries; NECCO, which has switched to natural colorings for its signature Wafers; and Frito-Lay, currently testing dye-free snacks. But don’t let the above statement fool you, these products are still full of things such as GMOs, soy, artificial sugars, MSG, and other harmful chemicals. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been a recent breach to the American food supply (a breach as large as 60-70%). The FDA has deemed GMO food as safe, while trying to convince the public that numerous studies were performed to prove their safety. When God created life, he created everything as it should be so that life could sustain itself. Why, after millions of years, would that need to be altered? And for those of you who do not believe in God and think that Science is the answer: plants and animals have survived a lot longer than humans have; and even longer before we started alerting them. These same plants and animals have evolved naturally. Can you think of one mutation man forced upon this earth that has turned into a good thing? I can’t.

The American government has taken very little action against anything that is put into food. Here is the little I found: “Congress required that each batch of food dyes, but not other colorings (such as from carrots or grape skins), be tested and certified to contain only acceptable levels of contaminants, such as lead and benzidine. Food additives, such as preservatives or flavorings, are not subject to such testing.”

• Congress did not permit companies to declare that any dyes are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS), and thereby not further regulated by the FDA. In contrast, companies are permitted to declare flavorings, emulsifiers, and other such ingredients to be GRAS.

• The FDA’s definition of safety for color additives states that “safe means that there is convincing evidence that establishes with reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the intended use of the color additive” (FDAa). [emphasis added] The term “convincing evidence” is not in the definition of safety for non-color additives.
There are two problems with this. The first being that the congress is really saying; “okay food dyes are not safe. However, the government is not regulating companies not to use them because they are ‘generally’ safe and does not require that companies test the skins of the food. In turn that provides toxic chemicals to seep into the oranges you provided for your son’s soccer team or a salmon filet you spent hours preparing to feed the ones you love. Secondly, there are few studies that show there is any benefit to food dyes and people just accept that packaged Ding-Dongs® that he/she eats because they are ‘good’. The only answer to this is that there has not been enough out cry from the American public against their colorful deadly birthday cakes because Dora the Explorer runs the house.

On top of there being very little regulation on food dyes The Center of Science for Public Interest (CSPI) reported the following study: “The FDA has established legal limits for cancer-causing contaminants in dyes. Those limits are intended to ensure that a dye will not pose a lifetime risk of greater than one cancer in one million people.” Hmmm … really? To an informed consumer, this fact would state that the FDA is aware that food dyes cause cancer; however, the risk is not great enough to cause panic among the uninformed masses. Also that, yes, we understand there is a cancer risk, but not a large enough one to pull the chemical from foods. The CSPI article goes on to say: “Unfortunately, the FDA’s process is riddled with problems. For one thing, those tolerances were based on 1990 dye usage, but per capita usage has increased by about 50 percent since then. Second, the FDA did not consider the increased risk that dyes pose to children, who are both more sensitive to carcinogens and consume more dyes per unit of body weight than adults (Hattis, Goble et al. 2005). Third, and most importantly, FDA and Canadian government scientists showed that levels of bound benzidine, a carcinogenic contaminant in at least Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 dyes, far exceeded levels of free dyes (Peiperl, Prival et al. 1995; Lancaster and Lawrence 1999). (Bound carcinogens have also been found in Allura Red AC, the un-certified form of Red 40 (Lancaster and Lawrence 1991).) Indeed, the Canadians found several bound carcinogens in soft drinks and hard candies (Lancaster and Lawrence 1992). Bound benzidine is largely converted to the free form in the large intestine. Large amounts of other carcinogenic contaminants might also be present in the bound form. However, the FDA generally only measures “free” contaminants and, hence, is blind to those (except possibly aniline) bound up in other molecules (FDA February 26, 2010). Fourth, the FDA should consider the cumulative risk of all dyes, rather than of each dye independently. Indeed, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to consider “the cumulative effect, if any, of such additive...taking into account the same or any chemically or pharmacologically related substance...”3 If the FDA considered those four factors in evaluating risks, the risks posed by the two yellow dyes—which comprise 49 percent of all dyes used—let alone all dyes taken together, would exceed the one-in-a million standard.”

Due to the fact that there is little regulation in food dyes in America, you need to take individual action for yourself and your family. Please read Appendix B and educate yourself about what you are willingly choosing to eat these toxic substances. Again, if does not live or grow out of the ground, there is absolutely no reason you should put that ‘food’ into your body. Be responsible for yourself and your family. Even if you agree with the FDA, (that these toxic chemicals are generally safe for consumption), they provide absolutely no benefit to our bodies. Why consume them? Please look forward to more information on GMOs coming soon.

Appendix A – Citations

1. http://www.feingold.org/Research/dye-studies.html
2. Exempt from certification: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2001/aprqtr/21cfr73.100.htm
3. FDA ‘exempt’ certification: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodingredientspackaging/ucm094211.htm
4. Aniline: http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/a6660.htm
5. Benzidine: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/Chem_Background/ExSumPdf/Benzidine.pdf
6. Europe Regulation: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/food-safety/109855-slaughter-calls-for-fda-regulation-of-food-dyes-following-european-decision
7. GMOs: http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/AboutGeneticallyModifiedFoods/index.cfm
8. FDA dye public hearing: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-30187.pdf
9. Red #40: http://www.red40.com/pages/history.html - Also for a full list of what food is added to it.
10. CSPI pressure against FDA: http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/12/03/fda-makes-a-move-toward-regulating-risky-food-dyes/


Appendix B – Food Dyes

Below is a list of the most common food dyes used today, posted by the Center for Science in Public Interest. Keep in mind that most, to all, studies were found inconclusive by the FDA. The Appendix also contains where the dye is most commonly found and reactions. CSPI also lists that most of the food dyes contain Benzidine and 4-Aminobiphenyl. Benzidine is a man-produced chemical that causes skin allergies, cancer of the urinary bladder. Some evidence suggests that other organs, such as the stomach, kidney, brain, mouth, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, bile duct, and pancreas, may also be affected. Nice, huh? Please keep in mind that most findings were only tested on rats, mice and dogs. I suggest you read the CSPI’s full document for further information.

Blue #1 (Brilliant Blue):
Summary: Was not found to be toxic in key rat and mouse studies, but 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. Blue 1 may not cause cancer, but confirmatory studies should be conducted. The dye can cause hypersensitivity reactions. Added permanently to the food dye exemption list in 1982
What it’s in: Baked goods, beverages, desert powders, candies, cereal, drugs, and other products
What it causes: Excreted in the bile, absorbs in the GI tract and intestine, becomes radioactive in the urine, chromosomal aberrations, kidney tumors, viral infections, microscopic lesions, the FDA nixed one study that a dog died in because the study did not have equal numbers of males and females (uh huh …), kidney tumors, females showed decreased amount of weight and survival in utero, hyperactivity disorders in children, suggested that even in small amount would have a large effect on a child’s brain growth, particularly worrisome for fetuses and infants

Blue #2 (Indigo Carmine):
Summary: Cannot be considered safe given the statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. Added permanently to the food dye ‘exemption’ list in 1983 because it is ‘claimed’ that B2 cannot cross the blood-brain-barrier
What it’s in: Color beverages, candies, pet food, & other food and drugs
What it causes: Excreted in feces, bile, and small amount in urine, cell neoplasms in the urinary bladder, mammary-gland tumors and brain glimoas

Citrus Red 2:
Summary: Is permitted only for coloring the skins of oranges not used for processing, is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary bladder and possibly other organs. The dye poses minimal human risk, because it is only used at minuscule levels and only on orange peels, but it still has no place in the food supply. … Really? It’s like saying: “Oh, your food just fell in the cyanide, but you are not eating the skin so you’ll be okay!”
What it’s in: Skins of Florida oranges
What it causes: Still intact in feces 48 hours later, broken down in GI tract, causes bladder cancer, found in urine (absorbed, sulfonated, and then excreted), tumors in liver, lungs, lymph nodes, increased fatty metamorphosis, significant weight gain in females, hyperplasia, thickening of urinary bladder wall causing papillomas, can be consumed by humans after peeling oranges



Green #3 (Fast Green):
Summary: 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.
What it’s in: Drugs, personal care products, cosmetic products except in eye area, candies, beverages, ice cream, sorbet; ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics
What it causes: Excreted in feces and bile, tests on dogs proved raise in pup mortality, testes tumors, liver neoplastic nodules, urinary neoplasms, studies found that mostly males were affected

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 (Erythrosine):
Summary: 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 (combinations 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.
What it’s in: Sausage casings, oral medication, maraschino cherries, baked goods, candies, some cosmetics
What it causes: 58% iodine content, excreted in bile which means the body absorbs and to some extent body tissue metabolizes it, those who use it normally have double the amount of protein iodine than those who do not, dye takes about 3 months to leave the body, ulcers, increased incidences of lyhmphocytic lymphoma in males, increased thyroid follicular cell adenomas in males, weight loss in adults and children, animal carcinogen

Red #40 (Allura Red):
Red40 scientific name: 6-hydroxy-5-[(2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo]-2-naphthalenesulfonic acid, also referred to as “Azos” or Cochineal
Summary: First produced at the Allied Chemical Corporation, most-widely used/consumed dye, 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.
What it’s in: Beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics
What it causes: Becomes radioactive in urine and stays radioactive in the guts (yes, you read that right … even in small amounts), affects the stomach, lungs and colon, urticaria, angiodema, hypersensitivity in all patients tested, passes in utero and proves a significant decrease in body weight in females, was present in dogs system years later, reticuloendotheliel tumors did not show growth but were still there, aniline and other contaminants found

Yellow #5 (Tartrazine):
Summary: Not carcinogenic in rats, but was not adequately tested in mice. 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. Y5 is contaminated with several carcinogens, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl. All studies indicated that Y5 contains more parts per million than ‘certifiably’ allowed by FDA standards.
What it’s in: Pet foods, in numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert powders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics
What it causes: Effects metabolism, accelerated urinary excretion, hyperactivity in children, induces chromosomal aberrations, studies done on infant rats proved more toxic and carcinogenic, benzidine and other contaminant level found above FDA regulation. A study done by the FDA in 1990 says that Y5 found 4 cancers in 10 million people but that does not provide enough risk to pull its usage. The ratio is more than likely increased by 500% since 1990.


Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow):
Summary: 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. FDA-approved Form of Sunset yellow, is water soluble sulfonated azo dye.
What it’s in: Color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin deserts, sausage, cosmetics and drugs
What it causes: Adrenal tumors, severe hypersensitivity/hyperactivity, increased/ accelerated urinary excretion, urticaria, asthma angioedema of lips, eyes, or face; reddening of the eyes; sweating; increased tear secretion; nasal congestion; sneezing; rhinitis (runny nose); hoarseness; wheezing; and a variety of subjective symptoms

3 comments:

Marcia said...

Thank you for your article. What is allowed in foods is a real shame. What the petroleum derived dyes are doing to our children is a terrible shame. I only hope and pray that the FDA will do its homework and follow the lead of the European Union.

In the meantime, your readers should remember your description of these dyes. You referenced the Feingold Association in your citations. This is a wonderful organization that teaches families how to buy products that do not have the dyes. In fact, by being a member I have found more healthy substitutes for many of the products people that don't know better purchase. The website is www.feingold.org Be sure to watch the video on the homepage.

Karen Mathis said...

Please allow me to respond on behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus.

Florida law allows the use of "color-add" (Citrus Red No. 2) on early early season fruit, when the inside of the fruit is completely mature, but orange and red pigments have not developed in the peel. The use of color-add is strictly limited by law.

The development of natural orange color in oranges is dependent on the weather and requires a series of cold nights, a weather condition which is not normal in the early fall in Florida.

In practice, Citrus Red No. 2 is rarely used and only in the beginning of the season.

Color-add (Citrus Red No. 2) is NOT the same product as FD&C Red No. 2 (also known as Amaranth) which was banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

Sincerely,

Karen Mathis

Author said...

No, I was definitely refering to the dye that is used on oranges. Either way people, why would you eat any food that is checmically altered? They use dyes to make the oranges look more 'presentable', and she states above that is it only used in early stage. Umm ... the orange is still growing. Do you really thing that this chemical would not seep into the orange?

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