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How to avoid artificial food flavors and colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

It’s obvious that if you want to have a completely healthy lifestyle, then you will also have to remove all preservatives and artificial colors and flavors from the food you consume. To achieve this, you need to start eating an organic diet that has the same flavors that you can find through Monin Clean Label products. Monin is committed to provide the largest variety of high quality, great-tasting products, made without any artificial ingredients.

Now that you know what you need to do, you also need to know that organic food is known to spoil faster as opposed to non-organic. This spoilage includes all non-organic products and not just the produce.

Food will eventually go bad at some point whether it spoils, molds, or becomes rancid. This is normal if food has no extra preservatives or additives. It is because of these preservatives and additives that allow processed food to last longer than a freshly baked treat made naturally.

Are preservatives worth it?

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

With so many different types of food being processed today, the number of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and additives are actually doing more harm than good. In basic terms, an additive is a chemical and should not be confused for food.

No matter which supermarket you visit, you will always come across artificial additives such as Butylated hydroxyl-anisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxyl-toluene (BHT). Not only do these two preservatives prevent food from creating an unpleasant taste and odor, but also from turning colors. It is important to remember that these additives do not keep spoilage from occurring, they only cover the bad taste or smells associated with bad food.

Many of the foods that contain them include chips, gum, and cereal. Nonfood items that also contain these include embalming fluid, jet fuel, and rubber. Many countries have already banned both BHA and BHT. In the United States, their inclusion in baby food has been banned.

Many food items that are processed have sulfites and nitrites in their ingredients. With that, sensitivities have occurred among consumers without it being known.

There are many artificial colors that provide an interesting look at the food we consume. These colors include Yellow #5, Red #40, and Blue #1 along with MSG, which has been shown to cause cancer, asthma, and ADHD.

As far as artificial flavors are concerned, there are several sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame that lab tests proved are cancer-causing chemicals. These artificial flavors were originally known to be health hazards, but in 2000, FDA regulators removed them from their list of toxins. Today, they can be found everywhere on the market.

Every sweetener listed above was lab-created in order to provide you with a nice sweetness that is calorie-free. However, in place of the calories are the toxins that make up the chemical. Also, instead of a waistline getting bigger, you are being exposed to cancer. In fact, the fad called no-fat, zero-calorie actually had no connection to people’s waistline. In actuality, it is thought to be a major contributor to obesity.

Being able to buy vegetables and fruits that are organically grown is the first place that we should start in order to heal.

Luckily, more and more organic products that contain authentic flavors like those from Monin Clean Label have become readily available.

Buying from Farmers That Are Local

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Buying local shows support towards businesses that are local and the livelihood of the owners. You can expect more freshness due to being locally grown. Being locally grown also decreases the amount of pollution and consumption of energy in order to have produce shipped by truck. It can go from the farm directly to your dinner table.

When You Buy Local and Organic You Are “Going Green”

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

If you are unable to purchase produce that is organic whether it’s due to the cost or being obtained at all, just make sure that any produce that you buy is washed thoroughly. If you are unsure if a fruit or vegetable is free of chemical residue, then you can use a solution that is able to remove the residue that is normally found on produce that is not organically grown. Another option is that you can create your own homemade solution by mixing lime, lemon, or vinegar with water inside a spray bottle.

Artificial food dyes are unfortunately in quite a lot of processed foods. I’ve already shared all the reasons I hate them, but today I want to share the names of the FDA-approved dyes so you can look for (and hopefully avoid) them in food products.

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Note: This is the “currently approved” list because, unsettling enough, the approval status does change.

The following FD&C color additives are either no longer authorized or restricted for use – that’s right the FDA once thought these seven food dyes were “safe” but have since changed their minds: Green 1, Green 2, Red 1, Red 2, Red 3 (still used in food, but no longer in cosmetics or external drugs), Red 4, and Violet 1. In fact, if you look at food, drugs and cosmetics in total there are 91 different dyes that were once approved and are now no longer authorized or restricted for use.

In the UK artificial dyes are allowed for use, but require a warning label stating, “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” So, as a result, food companies have mostly switched to natural dyes in order to avoid slapping a warning label on their packages.

Even though these dyes are still widely used in the US, I did find this statement on the FDA website, “Exposure to food and food components, including AFC [artificial food colors] and preservatives, may be associated with behavioral changes, not necessarily related to hyperactivity, in certain susceptible children with ADHD and other problem behaviors, and possibly in susceptible children from the general population.”

I’d also like to share a link to a really interesting science experiment conducted by a kid who tested the effects of yellow dye in mice. The results are rather astounding…click to see for yourself!

Artificial Dyes Found in Surprising Places

What was once reserved for colorful, celebratory cake frosting is now lurking on almost every shelf in the grocery store. In fact, consumption of food dyes has increased 5-fold since 1955 (up from 3 million to 15 million pounds per year) – 90% of which is from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40. This is one of the many reasons why the argument that we grew up eating this stuff and turned out “just fine” doesn’t hold up – processed food has changed (and continues to change) since we were kids.

So nowadays unless you shop somewhere like Whole Foods or Earth Fare (supermarkets that don’t allow products with artificial dyes), get ready to do some label reading in order to avoid the above list on your next shopping trip.

Below are some examples where we found artificial food dyes. They are not just found in neon colored beverages and brightly colored candies – all of the following (even including brown cereal, whole-wheat pizza crust, and white icing!) are examples of packaged products that contain artificial dyes:

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Have you found artificial dyes lurking in surprising places? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Research has found a possible link between certain artificial colours used in food and problems with hyperactivity in children.

If your child is overactive and struggles to concentrate, it might help to cut down on these colours in their diet.

Food colours linked to hyperactivity

All food additives, including artificial colours have an “E number”, which means they have passed safety tests and are approved for use in the EU.

According to research by the Food Standards Agency, the 6 food colours most closely linked to hyperactivity in children are:

  • E102 (tartrazine)
  • E104 (quinoline yellow)
  • E110 (sunset yellow FCF)
  • E122 (carmoisine)
  • E124 (ponceau 4R)
  • E129 (allura red)

These colours are used in several foods, including soft drinks, sweets, cakes and ice cream.

Should my child avoid these food colours?

If your child is hyperactive, or has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there’s some evidence to suggest that avoiding these 6 food colours may help.

But it’s important to be aware that:

  • hyperactivity can have many different causes, including genetics, and food colours are probably only a small part of the problem
  • removing food colours from your child’s diet will not necessarily lead to an improvement in their behaviour
  • the link between food colours and hyperactivity is not completely certain; more research is needed to confirm it
  • you do not need to avoid all E numbers; there are hundreds of different E numbers and most are not linked to hyperactivity

If you think your child’s diet may be affecting their behaviour, it might help to keep a diary of what they eat and how their behaviour changes, so you can see any patterns.

If you notice a possible link between food colours and their behaviour, you may want to see if avoiding these colours helps. But do not make drastic changes to your child’s diet without getting medical advice first.

How to avoid these food colours

You can avoid these food colours by checking food labels and looking for alternative products that do not contain them.

All artificial food colours should be included in the list of ingredients, with either their E number or full name.

If any of the 6 food colours mentioned on this page are included, the label must also have a warning saying the colour “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”.

If you buy food or drink without packaging, you’ll need to ask the manufacturer or the person selling the product if it contains artificial colours.

Page last reviewed: 2 March 2020
Next review due: 2 March 2023

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  2. The Effects of Pesticides in Food
  3. What Are the Dangers of Preservatives?
  4. Stevia & the Atkins Diet
  5. The Disadvantages of Using Food Additives

Artificial food coloring makes your foods more appealing and desirable. While the safety of these dyes has been called into question, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that the artificial food coloring currently permitted for use meet strict safety requirements. Consumer advocacy groups and recent scientific research, however, have linked these food dyes to a number of potential health problems, most notably certain types of cancer in animals and attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity in children.

Safety Restrictions and Rare Allergic Reactions

According to FoodSafety.gov, the FDA uses the best science available to determine whether food additives are safe. When artificial food colors are approved for use, a number of restrictions are specified, including the types of foods they can be used in, the maximum amounts in which they can be used and how the dyes should be identified on food labels. In addition, all approved food colors are subject to ongoing review, as testing methods continue to improve. FoodSafety.gov does note that while it is rare, some individuals can have allergic reactions to particular food colors. As an example, the FDA found that approximately 1 in 10,000 people could experience hives and itching after consuming the artificial food coloring Yellow No. 5 — a coloring used widely in beverages, desserts, candies and other products.

  • According to FoodSafety.gov, the FDA uses the best science available to determine whether food additives are safe.
  • FoodSafety.gov does note that while it is rare, some individuals can have allergic reactions to particular food colors.

Links to Cancer

Saccharin Safety in Toothpaste

According to the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, artificial food coloring and food dyes present many risks to consumers. A report published by the center notes that many commonly used artificial food colors have been found to cause damage to DNA, or genotoxicity, in more studies than they were found to be safe. But the research on artificial food coloring is limited to animal studies, including mice and rats. While bladder tumors and other forms of cancer were linked to certain artificial coloring in these studies, no human trials have found links between cancer and the dyes in humans. The center still contends they are dangerous to consumers and has urged many large manufacturers to discontinue their use.

  • According to the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, artificial food coloring and food dyes present many risks to consumers.
  • A report published by the center notes that many commonly used artificial food colors have been found to cause damage to DNA, or genotoxicity, in more studies than they were found to be safe.

The Artificial Food Coloring-ADHD Link

A 2012 paper published in “Neurotherapeutics” examined the controversial topic of artificial food coloring and hyperactivity in children. The article notes a 2011 FDA advisory committee convened for the purpose of evaluating evidence regarding the colors’ effects on ADHD in children. The authors note that while artificial food colors are not a major cause of ADHD, they do seem to affect both children with and without ADHD. A 2009 paper published in “Prescrire International” noted that a meta-analysis of 15 double-blind clinical trials found that artificial food coloring increased hyperactive behavior in already hyperactive children. The paper concluded that it is best for children to avoid artificial food colors.

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

According to the FDA, the amount of food dye certified for use was 12mg per capita per day in 1955, and by 2007, 59mg per capita per day was certified for use. Artificial colors are found almost everywhere, but many consumers are now becoming aware of adverse health effects that they may cause. Our children are most susceptible to them – especially because so many kids’ products are colored in such a way to make them more appealing, making them the most exposed to these harmful colors.

Many studies have shown that artificial colors may contribute to behavioral problems in kids, reduction in cognitive functions, and some have even linked cancer to some artificial food colors in animal studies. There’s tons of artificial colors out there, and they’re almost unavoidable. And that’s exactly why it’s important to be educated on these matters.

So, what artificial colors should you avoid?

Well, in a perfect world, all of them. But, let’s talk about the common ones that may have some alarming side effects.

Red #40

The most commonly used dye in the world. May interfere with brain-nerve transmission, causes hypersensitivity in some consumers, and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Found in maraschino cherries, cherry flavored mixes, candy, baked products, ice cream, and more.

Blue #1 | Blue #2

Banned in some parts of Europe. May cause damage to chromosomes and possibly cause kidney tumors. Found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, and sport drinks.

Red #3

Recognized as a carcinogen in animals in 1990 by the FDA. Proven to cause thyroid cancer and possibly chromosome damage. Found in sausage casings, baked goods, candy, and oral medication.

Yellow #5 | Yellow #6

Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in lab animals. Yellow #6 is also referred to as Sunset Yellow. Found in baked goods, cereal, drinks, dessert powders, gelatin, sausage, cheese, and cosmetics.

Green #3

Linked to bladder cancer. Found in candy, cakes, baked goods, gelatin, and juices.

Knowing that artificial colors are used in practically all we eat and drink is a bit concerning. They’re added in products to make them look more edible, but by doing so, makes it actually far less appetizing. It’s quite the Catch-22. However, things aren’t completely hopeless. There ARE alternatives. Natural and organic food colors are the perfect way to reduce our intake of artificial colors. We may not always be able to avoid artificial colors when we’re out looking to get a quick bite on the way to or from work, but it assures us that when we’re in the kitchen preparing a meal for the family, there’s nothing but natural ingredients in what we consume.

At Nature’s Flavors, we give people an alternative to artificial ingredients and that’s why we carry both Natural Food Colors and Organic Food Colors from our sister company, Seelect Tea. We’ve taken artificial colors and recreated their hues with natural ingredients, so you simply have a choice in what ingredients you put into your body.

We’ve even created an Organic Assorted Food Color Pack for those that would like to experiment. A little goes a long way with these colors.

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and ColorsColorful, organic, healthy, artificial-free goodness.

Additionally, we’ve created a larger-sized sample set of our Rainbow Pack of Natural Food Colors for those that want to dive right in. Natural food colors can be made at home, too, by puréeing and extracting beets, carrots, blueberries, basil, or whatever colored fruit, root, or vegetable you’d like to use that has great natural color. Do be mindful, however, that they will not only impart color, but some taste as well.

Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Facebook page or Instagram page.

Tag us on your flavor related adventures! #naturesflavors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Nestlé says it will eliminate all artificial flavors and colors from its line of over 250 products including Nestlé Crunch, Butterfinger, 100 Grand, Oh Henry, and Baby Ruth chocolate bars – and customers won’t be able to tell the difference.

“We never compromise on taste. When making these changes to more than 75 recipes, maintaining the great taste and appearance consumers expect from the chocolate brands they know and love is our number one priority,” said Leslie Mohr, nutrition, health and wellness manager, Nestlé Confections & Snacks. “We conducted consumer testing to ensure the new recipe delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance.”

Butterfinger bars, which are yellow on the inside, will be colored with annatto rather than artificial colors like Yellow 5 and Red 40. Annatto is a seed or extract from the achiote tree, which is indigenous to South America. Its coloring can range from bright yellow to deep orange. The company will also replace artificial vanillin with real vanilla in its Nestlé Crunch bar. The candy maker has promised to drop all artificial ingredients from its line of candies. The reformulation will show up in U.S. stores by the summer.

“We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients. As we thought about what this means for our candy brands, our first step has been to remove artificial flavors and colors without affecting taste or increasing the price,” Doreen Ida, president of Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks, said in a statement.

Nestlé says it’s the first large candy company in the world to make such a change. It says it’s responding to polls that show 60 percent of Americans say they want to avoid artificial colors and flavors in their purchasing decisions.

Caramel coloring, a food coloring used in caramel candies, is exempt from removal. The ingredient contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), a potentially harmful ingredient the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently taking a closer look at, especially for its use in soda. However, Nestlé says it’s actively pursuing ways of removing the additive from the nine products it’s currently used in.

Related on Organic Authority

PR Newswire, June 22, 2015, MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills Cereals has committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the rest of its cereals in response to consumers’ changing preferences. Today, more than 60 percent of General Mills Cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios are already without artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources and have been that way for a long time.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. 1 To respond to this growing need, General Mills Cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.

The General Mills Cereal Journey:

  • In the 1930s, General Mills began fortifying Kix cereal with some B vitamins, as well as vitamin D and minerals.
  • In 2005, General Mills converted the entire line of Big G cereals to include at least eight grams of whole grain per serving. Today whole grains is the first ingredient in all General Mills Big G Cereals, delivering 37.5 million whole grain servings per day – a 50 percent increase since 2004.
  • Since 2007, General Mills lowered sugar levels in kid cereals by more than 16 percent on average.
  • As of January 2011, all General Mills Cereals advertised to kids have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving.
  • By the end of 2017, the goal is to have all General Mills Cereals free from artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.

1 Based on an online survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills from 8/18-9/8/14 among a national sample of 31,375 Nielsen Homescan Panel households.

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Harmful Effects of Artificial Food Colors

Artificial food colors make food look more appealing. Brightly colored foods attract the attention of consumers, especially children. You might not be aware of the risks and dangers of artificial food coloring on your health.

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors
food color dyes: source wikimedia commons

Do you know color additives are synthesized from petroleum byproducts? Artificial food dyes are also sourced from raw materials obtained from coal tar. Since they are cheaper and more stable under intense heat and light conditions, artificial colors have become widely popular in the food industry.

They may be used to standardize the color in products that may lose color during the production process. Food dyes make artificially flavored foods look more appealing. Artificial colors are often added to certain food products to intensify their natural color.

You might find Red #40 in foods that do not contain real fruit (cherries or strawberries) but use artificial fruit flavors.

Most common “colored” eatables with synthetic colors include:

candies
beverages
aerated drinks
fruit juices
color chocolate
cereals
colored foods
tomato ketchup
desserts
snacks
potato chips
carbonated sodas
sports drinks
energy drinks
baked goodies
popsicles
ice creams
orange & lemon peels
hot dog
frostings & cake icing
condiments
sweetened yogurt

Research is underway to investigate the connection between artificial food colors and children behavioral problems. It is reported that children who are fed artificial food flavored eatables are at the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Other behavioral problems included aggression, sleeplessness, irritability, and restlessness. These behavioral changes are more common in children who ingest higher doses of artificial food colors. Younger kids are more reactive to food dyes than older children.

You might be surprised to find that the most widely used artificial food coloring culprits include colors that contain harmful compounds that are linked to cancer. Watch out for Red 40, Yellow 5, and/or Yellow 6 on food labels before buying a product.

Artificial food coloring risks include irritability, allergies, learning and sleeping problems, depression, memory loss, and aggressiveness.

Unfortunately, color additives are also added to cosmetics, drugs, and foods & drinks.
Most cake decorations use artificial food dyes.

Regular use of products with color additives can have serious health concerns, from raising serum creatinine to increasing albumin concentration, reducing antioxidant enzymes in liver, causing oxidation of fatty acids and acute inflammation, skin irritation & allergy, and congestion of kidneys.

So I chose to color my tooti frooti naturally. Check this.

Artificial colors are prevalent in our daily life. They are in our lipstick, toothpaste, nail polish, hair dyes and tanning spray, and they’re also added to medications and nutritional supplements to help us differentiate between the various pills in our pill organizer. And they create the colors in our clothing, bath towels, bed linens, shoes, carpets – their application is immeasurable.

From soda to salmon, the food industry adds more than 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into our food supply each year. Artificial dyes are added to so many foods, we hardly think twice about how Froot Loops get their bright colors or what makes cola brown. Dyes can be found in thousands of foods, including breakfast cereal, candy, and chewing gum.

Americans are eating more artificial colors than ever. The amount has increased from 12 mg a day in the 1950s to 68 mg a day in 2012. That’s a 5-fold increase 1 but it shouldn’t come as a surprise, not when a meal of Kraft Dinner, Orange Crush and a bag of Skittles delivers 102 mg of artificial dyes 2 . Alarmingly, many people are unaware of the potential dangers associated with them.

In the United States, all food and drink labels must list the artificial colors they contain. To denote synthetic food coloring agents (or artificial dyes), they are assigned FD&C (Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic) and regulated by the FDA.

Seven artificial colors are approved for use in food in the U.S.:

Additionally, Orange B is allowed specifically to dye hot dog and sausage casings and Citrus Red 2 is used only to color orange peels.

In Canada, artificial colors can collectively be declared as “colour” or “colours”. If they are specifically named, they are declared by their common name, for example, ‘Tartrazine’.

Artificial colors contain various chemicals and are commonly derived from petroleum products. Although they have been linked to many health concerns, including allergic reactions, behavioral changes, and even cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to allow them to be used in food

Reported reactions to artificial dyes include:

Artificial food colors have been linked to attention problems, including attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Two British studies showing that artificial colors increase hyperactivity and decrease attention span in children, both with and without learning disabilities, resulted in the enforcement of labeling of products containing artificial colors across Europe. Several European food manufacturers have since removed or replaced the artificial colors from their products 3 . Even American food manufacturers use natural colors in products exported to Europe – yet they continue to use artificial colors in the U.S.

One of the most problematic dyes is tartrazine, FD&C Yellow #5. Tartrazine imparts a yellow or orange color to salty snacks, cereals, packaged soups, pickles, cake mixes and more. It’s also used to color beverages, including energy drinks, juices and sodas. An 8oz (250ml) serving of soda could contain from 0.8 to 8.0mg of tartrazine.

The dye is also used for drugs and cosmetics, mainly for identification purposes. You might find tartrazine listed on labels of antihistamines, antibiotics, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, sedatives and even nutritional supplements! Liquid soaps and lotions colored yellow or orange are likely to contain tartrazine too.

The coal tar dye has been linked to cancer and is known to provoke asthma attacks, skin reactions, and hyperactivity in children. Tartrazine has already been banned in Norway, Austria and Finland. Because of these risks to health, in both the U.S. and Canada, tartrazine must be included and specifically named in the ingredients list of any food or product that contains it.

Food manufacturers have the option of replacing synthetic dyes with natural ones. The use of naturally derived colors has almost doubled over the past decade thanks to pressure from major chains like Whole Foods and consumer advocacy groups. Currently, natural dyes have replaced artificial dyes in nearly 40 percent of foods and beverages sold in the U.S. 4

Natural dyes are derived from natural sources and are without doubt the healthier choice. Nature’s Flavors, for example, makes organic food colors from all natural and organic plant extracts which have been shown to be high in bioflavonoids, polyphenols, and antioxidants.

The most commonly used natural dyes are:

  • Annatto – a reddish-orange dye made from a South American shrub
  • Beta-carotene
  • Betanin – an extract from beets
  • Carmine, derived from the cochineal insect Paprika
  • Lycopene from tomatoes
  • Saffron
  • Spirulina (from algae) – for gum and candy only.

For the most part, they are an excellent and safer alternative to artificial dyes, however, they are much more expensive (as high as 10 times higher than artificial dyes) and less stable when subjected to heat and light.

Also, they are not as vibrant as artificial dyes, causing concern among food manufacturers who have trained their customersto expect brightly colored foods and beverages. Another issue is that some natural food dyes are linked with serious allergic reactions, as well as other health concerns. Three ‘natural’ dyes that have been linked to allergic reactions are carmine, annatto, and caramel.

Since labels indicate which artificial colors – both artificial and natural – are included in the ingredients, carefully read the ingredients list on every product you buy.

Remember, food dyes are hiding where you may not expect them. If a discernible reaction occurs with a food or drink containing a food dye, record the color or combination of colors and watch for that reaction again. While most people react to one specific color (Red No. 40 is a culprit well known among parents) some people react to a combination of dyes.

[Editor’s Note: If you want to eliminate unhealthy ingredients and chemical additives from your diet for good, click here to sign up for a Naturally Savvy Get Healthy Challenge.]

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Burger King says its Whopper sandwich now has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Burger King’s Whopper sandwich is now free of artificial ingredients.

The restaurant announced today that its signature burger “now features no colors, no flavors and no preservatives from artificial sources in all markets across the United States. It’s the Whopper and nothing but the Whopper.”

The restaurant temporarily has placed the ingredient list for the Whopper sandwich “front and center” on the wrapper “for everyone to see.”

Burger King said that in the United States, 85 percent of its menu is free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. The restaurant chain said its goal is to have its entire menu free from artificial ingredients by the beginning of 2021.

“We put a lot of effort into the Whopper to make it taste great and the real Whopper free of colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources has the same iconic flame-grilled flavor that guests know and love,” said Chris Finazzo, president, Americas, Burger King, in a news release.

“This announcement further highlights our commitment to serve delicious, affordable meals our guests can feel good about.”

Burger King said it “to date” has removed 8,500 tons of artificial ingredients from its products globally.

“We know that real food tastes better and are working hard to remove all preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources from the burgers and food we serve in all countries around the world,” said Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Restaurant Brands International.

General Mills to drop artificial ingredients

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

General Mills is dropping artificial colors and flavors from its cereals, the latest company to respond to a growing desire for food made with ingredients people see as natural. (Photo: Joe Raedle)

NEW YORK – General Mills is dropping artificial colors and flavors from its cereals, the latest company to respond to a growing desire for food made with ingredients people see as natural.

The company said Monday that Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first cereals to undergo the changes. The Minneapolis company says cereals like Lucky Charms that have marshmallows may take longer to reformulate. It says 90 percent of its cereals will have no artificial ingredients by the end of 2016.

“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”

A range of food companies including Subway, Pizza Hut, Panera, Hershey and Nestle have said in recent months that they’re removing artificial ingredients from some or all products. Companies say the changes are a response to a demand for food made with ingredients people can recognize.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. [1] To respond to this growing need, General Mills Cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

This cereal makeover is more difficult than it may sound.

Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 sounds more like an NFL play, but these synthetic dyes have been used for decades.

Ted Labuza, professor of food science at the University of Minnesota, says natural food dyes typically don’t work as well.

“The compound has to be a stable compound and not have something that could react to other things,” said Labuza. “Most of them are very rare compounds, so the chances of them not reacting to other things are pretty small.”

General Mills said it will need to ditch the green and blue Trix, because it was too hard to find a suitable natural coloring compound.

For the other colors, the company will use Annatto extract for orange, Turmeric extract for yellow, and fruit and vegetable juices for red and purple.

Labuza says the process of extracting color compounds naturally is a much more expensive option, but General Mills says customers won’t notice a price increase.

The effects of artificial colors on impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity among young children.

Transcript

Artificial colors. Harmful, harmless, or helpful? Now, I know, I tell people to eat the rainbow of bright colorful foods—but not that colorful. We now know: artificial colors are harmful.

34 years ago, Chief of Pediatrics Ben Feingold published heresy, suggesting that artificial food colors could so damage a child’s developing nervous system that it could actually affect their behavior. Dow Chemical disagreed, as did Coca Cola, and other players within the $200 billion dollar food industry, who were able to convince the medical establishment that this was ridiculous. But the truth can only be buried for so long. And last year, after the publication of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge in the most prestigious medical journal in the world, showing artificial colors increased impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity among young children, there have now been repeated calls to better regulate, or ban, artificial colors altogether.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Sources

  • Am J Nurs. 1975 May;75(5):797-803. Hyperkinesis and learning disabilities linked to artificial food flavors and colors. Feingold BF.
  • D. McCann, A. Barrett, A. Cooper, D. Crumpler, L. Dalen, K. Grimshaw, E. Kitchin, K. Lok, L. Porteous, E. Prince, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 370(9598):1560-1567, 2007.
  • Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1991 Jan 12;135(2):60-3. [Food additives and hyperactivity in children]. [Article in Dutch] van Elburg RM, Douwes AC.
  • A. Kemp. Food additives and hyperactivity. BMJ, 336(7654):1144, 2008.

Acknowledgements

Topics

  • alternative medicine
  • artificial colors
  • brain health
  • children
  • Coca-Cola
  • complementary medicine
  • Dr. Benjamin Feingold
  • food additives
  • junk food
  • mental health
  • nutrition myths
  • processed foods
  • View Transcript
  • Sources Cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Topics

Artificial colors. Harmful, harmless, or helpful? Now, I know, I tell people to eat the rainbow of bright colorful foods—but not that colorful. We now know: artificial colors are harmful.

34 years ago, Chief of Pediatrics Ben Feingold published heresy, suggesting that artificial food colors could so damage a child’s developing nervous system that it could actually affect their behavior. Dow Chemical disagreed, as did Coca Cola, and other players within the $200 billion dollar food industry, who were able to convince the medical establishment that this was ridiculous. But the truth can only be buried for so long. And last year, after the publication of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled food challenge in the most prestigious medical journal in the world, showing artificial colors increased impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity among young children, there have now been repeated calls to better regulate, or ban, artificial colors altogether.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

  • Am J Nurs. 1975 May;75(5):797-803. Hyperkinesis and learning disabilities linked to artificial food flavors and colors. Feingold BF.
  • D. McCann, A. Barrett, A. Cooper, D. Crumpler, L. Dalen, K. Grimshaw, E. Kitchin, K. Lok, L. Porteous, E. Prince, et al. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: A randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 370(9598):1560-1567, 2007.
  • Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1991 Jan 12;135(2):60-3. [Food additives and hyperactivity in children]. [Article in Dutch] van Elburg RM, Douwes AC.
  • A. Kemp. Food additives and hyperactivity. BMJ, 336(7654):1144, 2008.
  • alternative medicine
  • artificial colors
  • brain health
  • children
  • Coca-Cola
  • complementary medicine
  • Dr. Benjamin Feingold
  • food additives
  • junk food
  • mental health
  • nutrition myths
  • processed foods
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General Mills Cereals announced earlier today that it has committed the brand to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the rest of its cereal products. The commitment comes on the heels of growing consumer demand for products that are made entirely from naturally derived ingredients. Today, more than 60 percent of General Mills Cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios already omit artificial flavors and colors derived from artificial sources.

According to a survey conduct by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills,В 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.В To respond to this growing need, General Mills Cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”

General Mills Cereals plans to have more than 90 percent of the portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources by the end of 2016. Cereal lover favorites including Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first of the remaining brands to change. Trix will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the fun red, yellow, orange and purple colors.  Reese’s Puffs will continue to use peanut butter and cocoa and incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same great taste that adults and children have always enjoyed. Consumers can expect to see the updated Trix and Reese’s Puffs cereals on store shelves this winter.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

The company has made a number of other brand-shifts to stay competitive among swelling consumer demand for a different class of cereal. General Mills recalibrated the recipes for its Big G cereals so that whole grain is the first ingredient, eliminated the use of high fructose corn syrup, and implemented measures to reduce the amount ofВ sugar in its most popular cereal brands starting in 2007.

These cereals are currently made without artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources:

Cheerios
Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch
Multi Grain Cheerios
Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter
Cheerios + Ancient Grains
Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond
Cheerios Protein Oats & Honey
Banana Nut Cheerios
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Chocolate Toast Crunch
SpongeBob SquarePants Cereal
Dora The Explorer Cereal
Fiber One Original
Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds
Total Whole Grain
Total Raisin Bran
Wheaties
All Chex Cereals
All Kix Cereals
All Cascadian Farm Cereals

General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.

Q: I used to consistently experience itching all over my body after meals. Then I started carefully reading nutrition labels and cutting food additives such as artificial flavors and colors out of my diet, which seems to help. Does this mean I’m allergic or sensitive to food additives?

A: According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food additives are any ingredients or substances — such as preservatives, vitamins, minerals, artificial sweeteners, antioxidants, spices, flavors and colors — that are added to food. All food additives must be approved by the FDA. This means the FDA has found that these additives meet its standard of “reasonable certainty of no harm.”

It’s common to confuse allergic reactions and intolerances. A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. A food allergy can be severe or life threatening and require immediate medical care. By contrast, symptoms of food intolerance are generally less serious and limited to digestive problems, such as nausea or cramping.

It is possible to develop an intolerance — sometimes called a sensitivity — to a food additive, but this appears uncommon. There also have been rare reports of true allergic reactions, but it’s more common to have an allergic reaction to foods — such as peanuts or seafood — than a food additive.

A few additives have more well-established associations with negative reactions. For example, sulfites are used to preserve dried fruit, canned goods and wine, and can trigger asthma attacks. The dye FD&C Yellow No. 5 — also known as tartrazine — may rarely cause hives. The red food dye carmine and other additives have been linked to a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

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23 Jun 2015 — US food giant General Mills cereals has joined a number of other food producers by making a commitment to remove artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from 90% of its cereals in response to consumers’ changing preferences. It plans to have more than 90 percent of the portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors by the end of 2016.

Today, more than 60% of General Mills cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and original Cheerios are already without artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources and have been that way for a long time.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. To respond to this growing need, General Mills cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“At General Mills cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”

Cereal lover favorites, including Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first of the remaining brands to change. Trix will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the fun red, yellow, orange and purple colors. Reese’s Puffs will continue to use peanut butter and cocoa and incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same great taste that adults and children have always enjoyed. Consumers can expect to see the updated Trix and Reese’s Puffs cereals on store shelves this winter.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

By the end of 2017, the goal is to have all General Mills cereals free from artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.

I would like to experiment with removing artificial flavors and colors from my family’s diet. I don’t know where to begin. Anyone have suggestions of foods, or even books or websites to start with?

5 Answers

Just go for veggies a fruit. Buy carrot sticks, cut up celery. Cut apples into slices, easy for the kids to eat. You could also buy some regular granola. If you have a whole foods store find granola bars without all the extra’s Best thing you can do to avoid artificial flavors and colors is eat real foods, veggies, fruit.

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

Go back to nature. Fruit (frozen grapes or strawberries, dipped in honey, for example). Vegetables (carrot sticks with yogurt, or celery sticks with organic pb). Think old timer’s food, real food that is. It takes some time and lots of planning, but it can be done. Just remember to compromise a little, be a little creative. They want popscicles? Ask them to help to make them, from real fruit juice.

Read this to get started,

hi Sue, you need to additionally be proscribing sugar. yet, in case you’re no longer proscribing sugar a large snack is a strawberry milkshake. you may make it with a banana, strawberries and ice cream or Yogurt, which ever makes you sense greater perfect approximately it. My youngsters love this, that is their popular snack. you could upload some cod liver oil in there to grant them their necessary fatty acids, which somewhat help youngsters who are suffering interest deficit. somewhat although, organic ingredients could be treats. I constantly make up a plate of unpolluted end result, make it look very fantastically and the toddlers like it. for many a sparkling strawberry is a handle, or pineapple and the bonus is they’re the two very reliable for them. remember, presentation is each thing!

anything fresh. fruit or veggies cut up into strips that the kids can handle easily. maybe dipped in some plain yogurt or or homemade ranch. check out the health food stores for more ideas. just cutting out red dye in a kids diet helps LOADS!! Just read the back of the packaging

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

try organics. they don’t have any added preservatives and everything is all natural.

Burger King has completed its nationwide rollout of a Whopper that’s free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, the Miami-based chain said Thursday.

The burger chain began the rollout in February, and it’s part of a broader plan to remove the additives from all of its menu items.

Burger King, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International, said that now 85% of its permanent food items in the United States are free of colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources. It said that to date it has removed around 8,500 tons of artificial ingredients globally.

Burger King has more than 27,000 locations worldwide, of which more than 7,300 are in the United States.

It is promoting the removal of the artificial ingredients by dubbing its signature item “the real Whopper,” and is putting a sticker with the burger’s ingredient label on every Whopper for a limited time.

It also is running a commercial touting the achievement.

“We put a lot of effort into the Whopper to make it taste great and the real Whopper free of colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources has the same iconic flame-grilled flavor that guests know and love,” Chris Finazzo, Burger King’s president for the Americas, said in a press release announcing the completion of the rollout. “This announcement further highlights our commitment to serve delicious, affordable meals our guests can feel good about.”

RBI global chief marketing officer Fernando Machado said the “real Whopper” was part of a broader move by the company.

“We know that real food tastes better and are working hard to remove all preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources from the burgers and food we serve in all countries around the world,” he said in the release. “Through our Restaurant Brands for Good framework we are committed to doing the right thing and continuously improving the quality of our food.”

Burger King is just the latest chain to remove artificial ingredients, something that Panera Bread and Papa John’s spearheaded in 2015.

That same year, Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Noodles & Company made commitments to remove artificial ingredients.

It seems like an awfully silly question for a healthy food lover, but we suspect you’re doing both anyway. So, would you rather eat artificial colors or artificial flavors?

These sneaky ingredients find their way into lots of foods, particularly when you’re dining out and labels aren’t accessible. They’re also found in vitamins, medicines, mouthwash, personal care products and cosmetics. So, if you had to choose, which would you rather eat?

Artificial Colors

Food dyes sound harmless enough. A little blue here. Some red there. What would Easter eggs be without food dye? Who ever heard of eating a popsicle that wasn’t bright blue, red or orange?

But according to research, artificial colors have been connected with an increased risk of behavioral issues, particularly among children. For children who already displayed hyperactive behaviors, the artificial colors intensified their behavioral issues.

While some colors have been banned because of their origin in coal tar, which is a known carcinogen, others remain on the market, with severe health risks, including allergies and (still a risk) cancer.

Among the most common artificial colors are:

  • FD&C Blue # 1 & # 2
  • FD&C Green # 3
  • FD&C Red # 3 & # 40
  • FD&C Yellow # 5 & # 6
  • Orange B

Green #3, Blues #1 and #2 and Yellow #6 have all been connected with allergic reactions and cancer in lab animals. Red #3 has been connected with cancer and genetic disorders. While banned from cosmetic applications, it’s still allowed in food.

Keep an eye out the next time you’re at a sushi restaurant for that bright green seaweed salad, the wasabi paste and even the pickled ginger, as they’re all potentially harboring artificial colors. Same goes for jams and jellies, mustards, hot sauce and ketchup, and other condiments served at restaurants. Read your vitamin labels. Make your own homemade mouthwash or opt for an all-natural mouthwash.

Artificial Flavors

We’re a species driven by the tongue. We love to talk, taste…kiss. Of course, all of those habits can get us into quite a bit of trouble if we’re not careful.

When it comes to taste, we know all too well how much trouble that’s causing us now, particularly for our nation’s children. Sugary, genetically modified fruit-flavored cereals, sodas, Pop-Tarts, candy and popsicles takes precedent over actual fruit. Ketchup covered French fries and Domino’s pizza sauce are preferred over an actual tomato. That the artificial flavor came to be preferred over the real thing is not only shocking, but dangerous as well.

Artificial flavors can contain hundreds of chemicals, and because they’re proprietary formulations, companies don’t have to disclose what’s in them, making it difficult to identify health risks. They’re usually only identified on labels as “artificial flavors.”

While more research exists on the dangers of artificial colors, there are some known risks with artificial flavors, like MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG can even be listed as a natural flavor, as it goes by many other names including autolyzed yeast extract, disodium 5-inosinate, and soy protein isolate.

MSG has been connected with serious health issues including asthma, headaches, diarrhea, blurred vision and numbness.

Artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, are often added to foods to boost flavors. They’re most often found in diet sodas, but aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are also found in yogurts, cereals, and even in that artificially colored pickled ginger from the sushi restaurant.

Aspartame has been identified as the most common cause for food-related complaints to the FDA, and includes a list of severe reactions from tinnitus and headaches, to cancer and fertility issues.

Both artificial flavors and colors pose serious health risks. And they separate us from a true food experience. We’re essentially eating perfumes and lipsticks. And that’s not food. That’s more or less a fruity-flavored insanity.

We do our best to avoid these ingredients, hopefully. But still, we can’t help but wonder, now that you know where they’re hiding and what the risks are, which would you rather eat?

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

More than 60% of General Mills Cereals are already without artificial flavors and colors

How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

General Mills Cereals has committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the rest of its cereals in response to consumers’ changing preferences. Today, more than 60% of General Mills Cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios are already without artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources and have been that way for a long time.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49% of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. To respond to this growing need, General Mills Cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”

General Mills Cereals plans to have more than 90 percent of the portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources by the end of 2016. Cereal lover favorites including Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first of the remaining brands to change. Trix will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the fun red, yellow, orange and purple colors. Reese’s Puffs will continue to use peanut butter and cocoa and incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same great taste that adults and children have always enjoyed. Consumers can expect to see the updated Trix and Reese’s Puffs cereals on store shelves this winter.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

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    “My nanna was onto it 30 years ago,” says Caroline Griffiths. “Simply mash a strawberry or two with icing sugar for a beautifully coloured icing for her sponge.”

    Griffiths is chatting about her tips and tricks for creating easy, all-natural food dyes from fruit and vegetables – a topic that’s gaining popularity these days with more people dealing with food allergies, and others just wanting to avoid artificial chemicals in what they eat.

    “If there are alternatives to artificial colours, why not use them? I’ve had a few friends with children that have reactions to the artificial colours, especially red, so it was with this in mind that I decided to do my Rainbow cake [pictured above] with natural colourings,” says Griffiths, the author of several cookbooks including Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books, $39.99) and Breakfast Bowls (Smith Street Books, $29.99).

    The layers of her colourful cake (get the recipe here) show some of the shades that can be created with natural dyes; some plants produce subtle shades, like those shown, while other options, such as dried fruit powders and garden greens, can produce bright, vibrant colours in cakes and icings.

    Wedding cake maker and keen gardener Hayley McKee, whose first book Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb (Hardie Grant Books, $29.99) was published in March, is a big fan of using garden produce to make DIY dyes.

    “Whether it’s custom-made cakes or my cookbook recipes, my whole approach to baking is to lean on nature for taste and looks. Natural colourings are easy to use, and have an earthier tone and truer taste than artificial dyes,” she says. “It’s nice to know you’re using pure ingredients to colour your sweets instead of a batch of unknown additives. I love using sweet peas, turmeric, saffron, raspberries, blueberries, pumpkin, carrot and beetroot. Delicious and vibrant!”

    Here’s how you can create your own all-natural food dyes.

    Pink, red and purple

    “For a pink buttercream or cake batter I like to roast baby beetroots and grate them down or purée them into the mixture. Cook out any extra moisture in the purée by heating it gently in a saucepan – this brings out the colour and flavour too. Remember, a little purée goes a long way so add a teaspoon at a time until you get the right tone,” says McKee.

    Put McKee’s beet technique to work in her beetroot truffle cake – baby beets lend a dense, fudge-like texture to an already deep, dark chocolate base (the recipe includes instructions for a two-layer cake, or the multi-layer tower shown).

    Hayley McKee’s decadent beetroot chocolate cake, in a celebration-sized version
    Source: Hardie Grant Books / Tara Pearce

    Griffiths, too, is a fan of beetroot for “pink to red and all the shades in between” (the pink layers in her rainbow cake show how adding more or less of the same colouring can produce quite different results). Blackberries and blueberries can give mauves and blues, and strawberries yield shades of pink. Blueberries are great for purple, too: “For a blast of purple, simply blitz up some fresh or frozen blueberries and add to your butter cake, cookie dough or creamy toppings,” says McKee.

    “You can get a cool purple with red cabbage, but can’t use too much as the flavour can be quite pungent!” Griffiths says.

    McKee like the flavours that some dyes bring to her creations.

    “Most of the time, fruit and vegetables only add a subtle layer of flavour but I actually enjoy the depth it brings to baked desserts. If you’re only using a dash of natural colouring, chances are you’re only going to get a whisper of the taste.”

    And for something that’s a deep, definite red, like red velvet cake? McGee’s tip: “For a red velvet cake I’d use beetroot or freeze-dried raspberries to add the hit of red. I’d combine the dye to the buttermilk so that I could gauge the intensity before folding it through the cocoa batter.”

    A finely sieved puree of cooked beetroot is what Desiree Nielsen uses in the pretty pink cream cheese crowning glory on her chocolate cupcakes with pink velvet icing, in her show The Urban Vegetarian.

    ANTIBIOTIC FREE CHICKEN

    In 2017, we committed to sourcing 100% “No Antibiotic Ever (NAE)” chicken for our diced and canned chicken products in the U.S. and Canada. We have since achieved this goal. This means we don’t allow antibiotics to be added to the feed, water or any commercial vaccines used by our chicken suppliers. We use tens of millions of pounds of chicken a year, and we’re working with our suppliers to develop a stable, sustainable, supply chain that can continue delivering on this commitment.

    ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS AND COLORS

    We know that many people, and parents in particular, are keen to avoid artificial flavors and colors. We have been working to remove these ingredients from our products and currently more than 95% of our food doesn’t include them. We will continue to shift away from using these ingredients, and expect that by the end of 2018, we will have eliminated them from nearly all of our North American products.

    CAGE-FREE EGGS

    We are committed to the humane treatment of animals, and animal welfare is a key part of our vision for a sustainable supply chain. We require our suppliers to implement procedures to prevent the mistreatment of animals, including how they are raised, cared for, transported, and processed.

    We have begun using cage-free eggs in our products and are working with our suppliers to achieve this goal by 2025.

    GLUTEN-FREE

    Campbell offers nearly 100 different products across our portfolio that are gluten-free. These include Campbell’s Tomato juice and a wide variety of our Pace salsas, Prego Italian sauces, Swanson broths and stocks, and V8 juices. Here is a list of our gluten-free products.

    We have a strict two-step process for validating a product as gluten-free and ensuring that it meets FDA’s criteria for the claim. First, we verify all the ingredients are gluten-free, then we analyze the finished product to make sure it meets all relevant requirements.

    In addition, many of our products are made without gluten-containing ingredients but are manufactured on shared equipment that have not been tested for the presence of gluten. These products may be suitable for people looking to reduce gluten but not for those who may have celiac disease. These products can be identified by the lack of gluten-containing ingredients on the label, even though the labels does not make a gluten-free claim.

    HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

    High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS is a liquid sweetener. Although we have significantly reduced our use of the ingredient in recent years, we do use high fructose corn syrup when it is right for the recipe, mostly to help deliver a smoother texture than other sugars can provide, or to keep the cost of a product affordable. High fructose corn syrup contains the same number of calories as table sugar and has been widely used in the food industry for more than fifty years.

    More than 80% of the products we offer for retail sale in the United States do not contain high fructose corn syrup including Campbell’s Sauces, Campbell’s Homestyle soup, Swanson broth, Prego Italian sauces and Slow Kettle Style soups.

    Many people have told us they would prefer to avoid HFCS, which is why we will continue to move away from using it in new products we launch and explore opportunities to remove it from certain existing products.

    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a common amino acid. MSG occurs naturally in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheeses. It has been used safely as a seasoning in cooking for more than 100 years. It adds a savory or umami flavor and when used in conjunction with salt it creates a clean savory taste.

    MSG is lower in sodium compared with table salt (sodium chloride). It contains only 13% sodium compared to 39% sodium in table salt. This means a small amount of MSG can be used instead of salt to create an appealing savory flavor. This is particularly useful when making great tasting foods which have reduced sodium and fat.

    For people looking to avoid MSG, we make nearly 600 different product varieties that don’t contain added MSG. These include soups, broths, salsas, cooking sauces, canned pastas and others in our Meals & Beverages portfolio and crackers, chips, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, and other savory snacks in our Snacks portfolio.

    PALM OIL

    We purchase only 100% certified sustainably-sourced palm oil for the food we make and sell under the Campbell portfolios in the U.S. We are continuing to work to source only 100% certified sustainably-sourced palm oil in our recently acquired Snyder’s-Lance portfolio. Our Arnott’s biscuit company in Australia and our Kelsen Danish cookie company in Denmark uses 100% segregated, certified sustainable and traceable palm oil.

    Both Campbell and our palm oil suppliers are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a group composed of palm growers, palm oil users, retail food chains and NGOs. The RSPO was created to promote the development and use of sustainable palm oil through supply chain cooperation and an open dialogue with stakeholders. The certification for palm oil will be provided through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or equivalent standard. Click here for our sustainable palm oil sourcing guidelines.

    SODIUM

    One way we reduced sodium across our portfolio is by using alternative ingredients such as potassium salt. Potassium salt can replace a portion of the sodium, provide a savory flavor to foods and help consumers incorporate more of this essential mineral into their diet. Eating foods with potassium can help maintain a healthy blood pressure, which contributes to heart health. Potassium can help blunt the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Current Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat at least 4,700 mg of potassium and no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily.

    If you want to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, we offer more than 500 products across our Snacks and Meals & Beverages divisions that meet FDA’s strict criteria for being called “healthy,” which includes a limit on sodium per serving. In our Meals & Beverages division, we offer lower sodium varieties of Campbell’s soup, Swanson stock and broth, and V8 beverages to help consumers meet their unique dietary needs. Our Snacks division also offers consumers lower sodium options with products like Cape Cod Lightly Salted chips, Kettle Brand Unsalted Chips, Snyder’s of Hanover Unsalted Mini Pretzels, Emerald Natural Almonds and Walnuts, and more.

    To learn more about how we view sodium in our products, review our Position on Sodium.

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    Many readers are aware that artificial colors and flavors have the potential to trigger hyperactivity and tic symptoms, and additives have also been linked to a number of other health risks. The Feingold Association has a sobering summary page with a list of health concerns from food dyes in the USA and Europe. The website PreventDisease has an article explaining how artificial flavors are made with hundreds of different chemical compounds. The USA has lagged behind Europe in a move to eliminate these ingredients either through personal choice or by pressuring manufacturers to comply.

    Washington Post ran an well-written article on Kraft’s plans to change to healthier ingredients (a relative term), particularly their well known Mac & Cheese; and here’s another article on Kraft.

    A lot of families make an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors in foods but don’t give much thought to widely used additives that are best avoided. This very common additive has been linked to increased hyperactivity even in the general population and to cancer:

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    How to Avoid Artificial Food Flavors and Colors

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    The clinical findings of Benjamin Feingold, MD, the brilliant pediatric allergist whose work still defines the field of allergy and basic immunology, tell us:

    Hyperactivity can be triggered by synthetic additives – specifically synthetic colors, synthetic flavors and the preservatives BHA, BHT (and later TBHQ) – and also a group of foods containing a natural salicylate radical. This is an immunological – not an allergic – response.

    Though these findings came out in 1975 or so, children are still b The clinical findings of Benjamin Feingold, MD, the brilliant pediatric allergist whose work still defines the field of allergy and basic immunology, tell us:

    Hyperactivity can be triggered by synthetic additives – specifically synthetic colors, synthetic flavors and the preservatives BHA, BHT (and later TBHQ) – and also a group of foods containing a natural salicylate radical. This is an immunological – not an allergic – response.

    Though these findings came out in 1975 or so, children are still being given Ritalin. I have seen what this drug can do to kids and it isn’t pretty. It makes me sad to think so many parents are too afraid or lazy to try something as simple, inexpensive, and safe as a change in diet. Thank God, when my own son was considered hyperactive, I went to the library and found this book. I cannot recommend this book enough.
    . more

    What are color additives and why are they used in food?

    A color additive is any substance that imparts color to a food, drug, cosmetic, or to the human body. Color additives include both synthetic substances and substances derived from natural sources. Color additives may be used in food to enhance natural colors, add color to colorless and ‘fun’ foods such as cake decorations, and help identify flavors (such as purple for grape flavor or yellow for lemon). Color additives are sometimes called food dyes.

    Are color additives safe to eat?

    Yes, color additives are safe when they are used in accordance with with FDA regulations. When the FDA approves the use of a color additive in food, our regulations specify:

    • the types of foods in which it can be used,
    • any maximum amounts allowed to be used, and
    • how the color additive should be identified on the food label.

    Do all color additives need to be approved by the FDA before they can be used in foods?

    Yes. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, all color additives and new uses for listed color additives must be approved by the FDA before they may be used in foods. A full listing of all approved color additives is available in the Summary of Color Additives for Use in the United States in Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Medical Devices.

    What criteria does the FDA review when evaluating the safety of a color additive?

    When evaluating the safety of a new color additive or a new use for a listed color additive, the FDA considers several factors. These include the short and long-term effects of consumption, composition and properties, manufacturing process, stability, likely amount of consumption/exposure, and the availability of analytical methods for determining its purity and the amount in food.

    Synthetic color additives, also known as certified colors, are required to undergo batch certification, a process in which the FDA analyzes a representative sample of each batch of the color additive to ensure it meets the required identity and specifications before it can be used. Prior to certifying a batch, the FDA analyzes the chemical composition.

    There are nine certified color additives approved by the FDA for use in food:

    • FD&C Blue No. 1
      • Confections, beverages, cereals, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, frostings & icings
    • FD&C Blue No. 2
      • Baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, and yogurt
    • FD&C Green No. 3
      • Cereal, ice cream, sherbet, drink mixers, and baked goods
    • Orange B
      • Only approved for use in hot dog and sausage casings
    • Citrus Red No. 2
      • Only approved for use to color orange peels
    • FD&C Red No. 3
      • Confections, beverages, cereals, ice cream cones, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, frostings & icings
    • FD&C Red No. 40
      • Cereal, beverages, gelatins, puddings, dairy products, and confections
    • FD&C Yellow No. 5
      • Confections, cereals, snack foods, beverages, condiments, baked goods, and yogurt
    • FD&C Yellow No. 6
      • Cereals, snack foods, baked goods, gelatins, beverages, dessert powders, crackers, and sauces

    What is the difference between a certified and an exempt color additive?

    ”Exempt” colors include pigments from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals, or animals. Examples 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). Although exempt color additives are not subject to batch certification requirements, they are still color additives and FDA must approve them before they can be used in foods.

    Certified color additives are synthetic colorings that are used widely for intense, uniform color, and because they blend easily to create a variety of hues. These additives are classified as certified because they are required to undergo certification every time a new batch is manufactured.

    How do I know whether color additives are in my food?

    The FDA requires food manufacturers to list all ingredients on the label, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additive (e.g., FD&C Blue No. 1 or the abbreviated name, Blue 1). With the exception of carmine/cochineal extract, color additives exempt from certification can be listed collectively as “artificial colors,” “artificial color added,” “color added,” or equally informative terms, without naming each one. Because of potential allergic reactions in some people, carmine/cochineal extract are required to be identified by name on food labels.

    Do color additives affect the behavior of children?

    The FDA has reviewed and will continue to examine the effects of color additives on children’s behavior. The totality of scientific evidence indicates that most children have no adverse effects when consuming foods containing color additives, but some evidence suggests that certain children may be sensitive to them. The FDA will continue to evaluate emerging science to ensure the safety of color additives approved for use. Parents who wish to limit the amount of color additives in their children’s diet may check the food ingredient list on labels. Parents should also discuss any concerns with their family physician.

    Should my family avoid color additives?

    Color additives are safe when they are used in accordance with FDA regulations. If you choose to limit your intake of color additives or to avoid them altogether, you can identify whether they are in a product by reading the ingredients on the nutrition label.

    If a problem were to arise with a color additive, what would the FDA do?

    The FDA continually monitors reports of problems that may be related to color additives and takes action when necessary. The FDA can issue a warning letter to the manufacturer, detain products before they are shipped to stores, issue import alerts, or even seize products that are found to be unsafe or to contain color additives that are prohibited, misused, or not properly identified as ingredients. The FDA may also revoke or amend its regulations of current authorized uses as needed.