Artificial food dyes are petrochemicals, meaning they are made from coal tar. These colors are added to many foods simply to change how they look. Most of these commonly used artificial food dyes have evidence of carcinogenic activity, meaning they are a high-risk for causing cancer. They have also been linked to behavioral problems and hyperactivity in children.
These additives are banned, or at least require a warning label, in Norway, Finland, Austria, France and the UK. There are many natural alternatives to these dyes such as annatto, beets, elderberry juice, carotene, paprika and saffron. In fact, the US companies Mars and Kellogg’s make M&M’s and Fruit Loops in the UK using these natural alternatives. So why should Americans get the more dangerous version? Be sure to read the labels and try your best to avoid them.