Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Why Are Artificial Colors and Flavors Still in Our Food?

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)

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less