Is the dye used in sweets and drinks dangerous for health?

Nowadays you can visit your local supermarket and you will find several aisles and fridges dedicated to offering a wide variety of drinks and sweets that come in different flavors and colors.

You are probably a regular consumer of more than a couple of this class of products, of which a particular characteristic is that it is usually very attractive to the eye due to the color and shape of the container, you may even fancy it without having tried the product.

Have you ever wondered about the dyes used in candy and flavored drinks?

Color is one of the characteristics that is attractive to the consumer, which is why in the processed food industry it is a factor that is studied in depth and aims to provide safety in consumption as well as a striking appearance that encourages to its constant consumption.

according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) A color additive is any colorant, pigment or substance that provides color to a food, product, medicine, cosmetic or human body, which can be made up of synthetic substances and/or substances derived from natural origin.

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In turn, the FDA carries out regulatory supervision of color additives, both certified (synthetic) and exempt (pigments from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals or animals) that are used in food and certifies and approves those that have been demonstrated as safe for use before they are made available to the public.

9 Colorants certified by the FDA for use in food

-FD&C Blue No. 1

Used in the manufacture of candies, beverages, cereals, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles and icings, among others.

-FD&C Blue No. 2

Used in the manufacture of baked goods, cereals, snacks, ice cream, candy and yogurt.

-FD&C Green No. 3

Used in the production of cereals, ice creams, sorbets, drink mixers and baked goods.

-Orange B

Only approved for use in hot dogs, mainly sausages.

-Citrus Red No. 2

Only approved for use to color orange peels.

-FD&C Red No. 3

Used in the manufacture of candies, beverages, cereals, ice cream cones, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles and icings.

-FD&C Red No. 40

Used for cereals, drinks, jellies, puddings, dairy products and sweets.

-FD&C Yellow No. 5

Used in the manufacture of sweets, cereals, snacks, beverages, condiments, baked goods and yogurt.

-FD&C Yellow No. 6

Used in cereals, snack foods, baked goods, jellies, beverages, dessert powders, crackers, and sauces.

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  • What additives do processed foods have?

Additives exempt from certification

The additives exempt from certification can be found in the list of ingredients of a product under the names: artificial colors, added artificial color, added color, or similar without the need to name each one specifically, except for:

-Carmine/Cochineal extract:

This component is listed despite being exempt due to possible allergic reactions for certain individuals.

Some of the exempt additives used to obtain colors are:

-Achiote (yellow).
-Dried beetroot (bluish red to brown).
-Caramel (yellow to tan).
-Beta-carotene (yellow to orange).
-Grape skin extract (red, green).

Color additives used for food use are chemically classified as colorants:


Check the list of ingredients of drinks and sweets

If you consume any beverage or sweet regularly, check its nutritional information label and especially the list of ingredients.

Remember that the first ingredients to appear are the ones that are in the greatest quantity.

Color additives used in foods are considered safe for consumption when used in accordance with FDA regulations, in which they specify aspects such as:

-Maximum amount allowed.

-The way in which the color additive is identified on the food label.

-Types of food and products in which it can be used.

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Despite the fact that in most cases these additives and usually do not have a negative impact on children.

It may happen that some are sensitive to some additives, with hyperactivity, temporarily modifying their behavior, which is why the FDA has reviewed this aspect of additives and continues to analyze their effects.

In any case, it is good practice to check the list of ingredients and consult the labels of the products you consume to identify what kind of color additives they contain.

Whether they are certified or exempt, in the event that a reaction to a certain additive is present, the ideal is to identify it in the rest of the products that are usually consumed in order to limit their intake.

Source: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institute of Health.

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