Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why Are Artificial Colors and Flavors Still in Our Food?

Ilana Newman is a freshman at Wesleyan University. She plans on majoring in environmental studies and history. She is passionate about food allergy education and sustainability, especially in the area of food justice. She is a member of Real Food Challenge, an organization that promotes the use of local, fair, ecologically sound and humane food on campus.

As an individual with allergies to artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, I’ve often been deceived by a “natural” product whose bright color or fresh taste actually comes from an artificial dye or preservative. Time and time again, I’ve received “natural product” recommendations from friends, only to discover the "farm fresh" cider contains potassium sorbate, and the lipsticks from the “natural” makeup company contain red dye #40. So, I got ridiculously excited when I read that Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, announced it would remove artificial colors and flavors from all its chocolate candy sold in the U.S. by the end of 2015.

Americans deserve the same health and safety standards as Europeans do. It is time for Americans to stand up for their health, and show the major food companies that they truly care about what goes into their food, and bodies.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Science has provided overwhelming evidence proving the dangers of artificial colors and flavors. In 2007, a group of government funded UK researchers conducted a study and concluded that artificial colors result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children.

Most importantly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that the artificial colors Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, showed signs of causing cancer in lab animals and that Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40, are contaminated with known carcinogens linked to various forms of cancer. However, the FDA has still approved all six for human consumption. In a country where it is all too common for corporate interests to trump human health, it’s truly commendable that Nestlé took the first step in eliminating these dangerous additives.

However, we must recognize that this change was slow in coming and that Nestlé's peers have yet to revise their ingredient lists. Artificial colors are banned in the UK and require warning labels throughout the EU. Candy companies are definitely aware of the dangers posed by artificial colors; in response to the EU ban, Mars Inc. voluntarily switched to naturally sourced dyes for the European market. Nestlé has also been using natural colors in the European market for years.

Americans deserve the same health and safety standards as Europeans do. Nestlé has made a good start, but still too many products unnecessarily depend on artificial colors and flavors. It is time for Americans to stand up for their health, and show the major food companies that they truly care about what goes into their food, and bodies. Let’s all work to create a safer food system for all.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Will 3D Printing Be the Next Big Thing for Sustainable Food?

4 Natural Supplements That Are as Powerful as Drugs

12 Fruits and Veggies You Should Avoid (If Buying Non-Organic)

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less