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Tag: Allura Red AC

This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

FD&C Red No. 40

The next time you are tempted to pop a candy cane in your mouth, think again. Red No.40 is the most commonly used artificial red food coloring used in the US today and is banned in many other countries.

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Alternate Names: Allura Red AC, FD&C Red. No. 40 Calcium Lake, FD&C Red. No. 40 Aluminum Lake

E Number: E129

Uses: Coloring

Found In: soft drinks, candy, children’s medications, cereal, beverages, snacks, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream

Description: An azo dye produced from petroleum to create shades of red. Also see Food, Drug & Cosmetic Colors (FD&C). One of the newest colors to be permanently listed by the FDA. It is extremely prevalent in foods and is one of the most commonly used of all the food dyes. Due to several studies on children and hyperactivity, the European Union requires food containing this colorant to have a label which states: “may have an adverse effect on activity in children” (see In the News section on full ingredient report). This can be problematic for parents since this food dye is found in thousands of products marketed specifically to children. Red No. 40 is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden and Switzerland. The safety of this colorant is highly controversial.

Possible Health Effects: Known to cause hyperactivity in children. Some animal studies indicate that chemicals used in the preparation of this colorant are carcinogenic and may cause cancer. Developmental… Read more on Red No. 40

Related Ingredient: Tartrazine

Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.

If that soda can had a warning label which stated “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children,” would you give it to your child? This is the decision parents in the European Union (EU) now have. After numerous studies indicated that artificial food dyes caused behavioral and hyperactivity issues in children, the EU finally took action. On July 20, 2010 new food coloring legislation went into effect in the EU which requires special labeling of foods containing six colorants.

Here are the six offending dyes:

In the US, it is very difficult to avoid consuming synthetic food dyes. Virtually every type of brightly colored candy contains food coloring as does soda, sports drinks, cereals, packaged snacks and most medication designed for children.  Food colorings in general, whether artificial or natural, have one thing in common: They are added to the food ONLY to make it look more appealing. Now, I try to avoid processed snacks and junk food as best I can, but throw a few Red Vines, gummy sour watermelons, or Peanut M&Ms in my line of sight and watch my willpower crumble.
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