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Risky Food Dyes: 8 Colors to Watch Out For

By Brooke McLay |

It seems that rainbow is a trend on everything these days. From rainbow-tinted cupcakes to rainbow-dyed yogurt, we’re growing accustomed to adding a touch of color to our everyday meals. Buying highly tinted foodstuffs from our local grocery store is becoming essential (and let’s be honest, fun) for home-cooking. But have you ever considered what’s behind those food dyes? It doesn’t take a bag full of candy to introduce petroleum-based products into your family’s diet. It’s time you know your rainbow of risks. Here are 8 food dyes that have shown some concern to scientists and health providers over the years.

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Risky Food Dyes: 8 Colors to Watch Out For


FD&C Blue 2, also known as "Brilliant Blue," is frequently used in hard candies, baked goods, cereal, beverages, drugs, and cosmetics. Although most studies concluded that this dye was not a carcinogen in studies conducted on mice or rats, one study did find that male mice had an increased incidence of kidney tumors after ingesting the dye.

All facts and statistics from this slideshow taken from Rainbow of Risks, Good Guide, and Functional Wellness.


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About Brooke McLay


Brooke McLay

Brooke McLay is a recipe developer, food writer, food photographer, and cooking show host for Babble, General Mills, and Good Cook. You can find and follow her latest whims at Cheeky Kitchen. Read bio and latest posts → Read Brooke's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “Risky Food Dyes: 8 Colors to Watch Out For

  1. Jen says:

    Your readers might be interested in a support group for those of us that avoid letting artificial food dyes into our homes. It’s called the Feingold Association and was formed by parents many years ago. Website is

  2. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) says:

    Crazy… so brutal that this stuff is allowed.

  3. Die, Food Dye! says:

    Thank you for spreading awareness. I kinda feel sick when perusing Pinterest because of all the neon bright rainbow cake recipes – But that’s because I know what’s truly in them. I blog about the affects of petroleum food coloring and flavorings at and my inspiration is my daughter. She has severe reactions to food coloring including: aggression, violence, mood swings, inexplicable crying episodes, hours-long tantrums, bed wetting, stomach aches, headaches, paranoia, problems transitioning from one activity to another, hyperactivity, and attention deficit. None of these things appear when she’s eating clean. I subsequently realized that my husband and I are both affected by food coloring as well. I encourage people to read labels, educate themselves, and question food manufacturers via e-mail and Twitter #DitchTheDyes so that US food manufacturers will shift to natural colorants here like they already have done in their European markets. It CAN be done.

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