Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Eggs

This year will be our first time dyeing eggs with our boys for Easter. I remember how much I loved coloring eggs. My mom would pick up a kit at the grocery store, set us up and let us have at it. Those little cups of dye and the smell of vinegar - unforgettable. What will be different from my experience as a kid is there won't be any Easter Egg Color Kits but still as much fun and still the smell of vinegar.

I've touched on artificial coloring in regards to other products but haven't really discussed the subject in depth. I don't like artificial coloring. And nor should you. From oatmeal and M&M's to yogurt and beverages, food coloring is everywhere. Upon researching how to color Easter eggs naturally, I found a great post at Crunchy Domestic Goddess and obtained not only how to make natural dye but great info on food coloring such as this:

According to, “Many food colorings contain color additives such as Red No. 3 and Yellow No. 5, which, according to a 1983 study by the FDA, were found to cause tumors (Red No. 3) and hives (Yellow No. 5).”

And this:

Blue No. 1 uses coal tar as one of its components. Because of the use of coal tar, many organizations and circles are speaking out and boycotting products using colors with coal tar because it is a carcinogenic in large quantities, known to cause tumors in lab rats.

Red No. 40 can be found in sweets, drinks and condiments, medications, and cosmetics. It has caused allergic reactions in people as well as hyperactivity in children. 

Yellow No. 5 or Tartazine can be found in soft drinks, instant puddings, flavored chips (Doritos, etc), cake mixes, custard powder, soups, sauces, kool-aid, ice cream, ice lollies, candy, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles, pickles and other pickled products, certain brands of fruit squash, fruit cordial, chips, tim tams, and many convenience foods together with glycerin, lemon and honey products. Tartrazine, however, does produce the most common allergic react, especially among those with an aspirin intolerance and ashtma. Some research has linked Yellow No. 5 to early childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and hyperactivity. It is banned in Austria and Norway. 

Yellow No. 6, also known as Sunset Yellow FCF, is an orange coal tar-based food dye found in orange squash, orange jelly, marzipan, Swiss roll, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, fortune cookies, sweets, hot chocolate mix and packet soups, trifle mix, breadcrumbs and cheese sauce mix and soft drinks. It is the color most prominently seen in DayQuil. It is capable of causing allergic reactions such as abdominal pain, hyperactivity, hives, nasal congestion, and bronchoconstriction, as well as kidney tumours, chromosomal damage, and distaste for food.

Does this sound okay? It shouldn't. The less of this crap my family ingests the better. It's tough to get away from it 100% but I'm certainly going to try. As Crunchy Domestic Goddess mentions, it's in M&M's, the very thing I used to bribe assist my son with potty training. And M&M's is an obvious one with all the bright colors but there are lots of less obvious places where this stuff resides.

The above detailed information on food coloring has reaffirmed my natural instinct to avoid it and other like additives as well as artificial sweeteners. We mistakenly trust the companies that produce the food on the grocery store shelves. We assume if they can sell it, it has to be fit for consumption. So not true. Bottom line is we have to do our own research and make informed decisions. They will not stop making crap until everyone stops buying it and even then I'm not sure they'll stop. They'll likely just repackage it with new branding that will mislead the consumer again. Don't be a sucker and don't eat a sucker either, it likely has artificial coloring in it!

Image credit: Wikipedia


  1. Great post - my eldest has always been allergic to red dye so we're constantly looking for more information on colorings in food. I also love the concept of your blog - I never knew I was a "Medium Food Mom" until now! Awesome :) I'm following!

  2. Hey fellow Medium Food Mama! I'm so happy you found me, I truly appreciate having the company!