Seeing Red about Red

Maybe because Valentine's Day is coming up, the color red is on my mind. Red Food Dye No. 2 (also known as carmine) is made from dried insects found in South America. Red Dye No. 2 is the most widely recognized food dye allergy. Reactions to food dyes are not IgE (true allergic) reactions, they are sometimes categorized as food intolerances instead of allergies. Red Dye No. 40 has been reported in many allergic reactions as well as other food-coloring agents such as Sudan 1 and Yellow No. 6.

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Hope your Valentine's Day candies are free of Red No. 2.

Food products like gummy bears, hard candies, medications, popsicles, ice creams, dry mixes, beverages, artificial cheeses, processed breads and crackers often contain food dyes that may cause allergic reactions such as: rashes, lip swelling, and breathing problems. For some eating these foods may trigger asthma. Dyes can also be found in cosmetics and beauty products. Wearing lipstick made with carmine and then kissing the cheek of an allergic child could trigger a reaction.

The only way to prevent these reactions is by reading nutritional labels very carefully. By law manufacturers are required to list all ingredients. Even if you are not allergic to food dyes do you really want to eat food with the word "No. 6" as an ingredient?


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  • I think it's so scary that we eat so much dyes and artifical flavors without realizing it. So important to be aware of what we put in our bodies!

  • Exactly Maris! My childhood was filled with all sorts of dyed foods. I'm lucky to be alive!

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