Dye! Dye! My Darling!

We awoke this morning to news that has totally rocked our world: Justin Bieber was arrested for drag racing while intoxicated! Just kidding, we saw that one coming from a mile away, but we did notice this little item: Fruit Loops, the multi-colored bane of parents who already have over-stimulated children’s existence, ARE ALL THE SAME FLAVOR! Why is that such a big deal? Forget about all the junk that goes into making this cereal taste so good to kids, Think of the use of food dyes used to create the visual feast that is a bowl of Toucan Sam’s finest. Our BerryBreeze ™ team has kids, and we have become acutely aware of both the dangers and alarming prevalence of food dyes so many food products. It makes us wish they would have either not colored the cereal or at least stayed away from the use of red dye 40 and yellow 5 (two of the most sinister of food colorings, in terms of how they can affect children). Here’s some things we have found while looking into the matter.

1. Not Originally Intended for Consumption

When artificial colors were first developed in the mid-19th century, the original intent was that their use be for treating textiles only. Why? Because of how toxic they are. First off, they’re petroleum-based, not good for the planet and definitely not good for our bodies! Then there’s the use of copper, nickel, cobalt, and chrome. Sure, you may like heavy metal when your working hard in the gym, but these artificial colors pack a poisonous punch to our health and well-being.

2. A Rainbow of Risks

That’s a pretty catchy header which we unfortunately didn’t come up with, but it is true that eight of the most used artificial food colorings that have been used in one form or another for well over a century have been linked to a number of significant health risks. These include cancer in animal testing, hypersensitive allergic-like reactions in people, and hyperactivity in kids! This last point we can speak to empirically; have you ever noticed how your kids start getting unfocused and unruly after they’ve had a bag of popcorn and a cherry ICEE from Target? We have, and things can get downright ugly. We’re not going to embarrass our kids right now with a recounting of their behaviors (we’ll save it for when they are older), but we are convinced these dyes have an effect.

3. As American As Artificially-Colored Apple Pie

Apparently, many of our European cousins are equally convinced. Foods with dyes require labels, Red 40 is banned in several countries all together, and this has forced companies to respond. Kraft Mac-N-Cheese is made using natural dyes for the European market. And for the good ol’ USA? It’s still got yellow 5 and yellow 6! Kellog’s Nutri-Grain cereal bars? Red 40 for the US, but natural colors for the UK! Do these companies just think Americans are made of tougher stuff?

4. It’s Not Just the Food

Artificial colors are also included in a variety of household items, including supplements, medicine, toothpaste and mouthwash, hand soap and sanitizers, shampoos and body wash, and face paints, finger paints, and play dough. Once members of the BerryBreeze ™ team started investigating, we were increasingly alarmed.

Thankfully, the growing natural and organic food movement in this country is changing some of the food packaging in this country, if not the production of the food itself. Companies want to go out of their way to “volunteer” that their products contain “no artificial colors”, etc. (although those that still do are not required to have warning labels). Moms and dads can make home-cooked meals and treats with the use of natural colorings that are available out there. Change.org has a petition asking Mars, the makers of M&Ms, to stop using dyes, you can sign it here. If you’ve been a reader of the BerryBreezeBlog (3B) for some time, we’re pretty sure you’ve had an awareness of this topic before we got around voicing our concerns. Please feel free, however, to share this post with anyone you feel might benefit from this information. And let’s at least keep this junk as far away from are kids as we can!

Got some information about this topic? Had some experiences with your family? Leave a comment below!