Wondering why the candy in America might seem just a bit brighter in color than it’s sweet cousin in Europe? The answer might surprise you. Many candy companies in the US use artificial food coloring for the candy they sell and distribute in the United States, but that same candy sold in Europe gets its coloring from natural sources.
I have to admit, peanut M&M’s are my weakness. Especially frozen. But after looking at the long list of artificial food dyes in those delicious candies I’m ready to take my indulgence elsewhere: COLORING (INCLUDES BLUE 1 LAKE, RED 40, YELLOW 6, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, RED 40 LAKE, BLUE 2 LAKE, YELLOW 6 LAKE, YELLOW 5 LAKE, BLUE 2).
You won’t find those color additives in European M&M’s.
Why are companies selling safer candy in Europe than they are in the US?
“There’s been evidence for almost 40 years that food dyes trigger hyperactivity or inattention in children. About six years ago, the British government sponsored studies that found exactly that, so they urged food companies in Britain to replace synthetic dyes with natural colorings or no added colorings, and many British companies switched over. And then the European Union passed a law requiring that any food that contained the dyes used in those two British studies would have to put a warning notice on, warning consumers that the dyes might trigger hyperactivity. And so with the threat of a warning label, it’s really hard to find these synthetic dyes.”
Here’s what a warning label in Europe would say: “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” We have no such warning label in the US.
What’s shocking to me is that these companies are clearly able to remove dangerous artificial food dyes from their products and have done so in other countries, yet they’re not willing to remove them from products sold in America. What does this say about how they value the lives of American children?
The FDA isn’t helping either. They continue to take the position that more research is needed before they make any decisions about artificial food dyes.
What you can do
- READ LABELS: In America all food labels must spell out which artificial food dyes are used in a product. If you see ingredients such as Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 (or any other color with a number after it) steer clear. Read your labels very carefully so you can make an educated decision about the food you buy.
- SUPPORT COMPANIES that don’t use artificial food dye. Let your dollars do the talking!
- SIGN THIS PETITION on Change.org asking Mars, the maker of M&M’s candies, to stop coloring its products with petroleum-based artificial food dyes.
How do you feel about companies selling products in America with harmful ingredients that they’ve voluntarily removed in other countries?