So a funny thing happens every single time we post a post about rainbow-colored this or that…all these dye-hard moms come out of no where and freak out about how evil food dye is and why we should be burned at the stake for ever even suggesting we let it near our children. Seriously, it’ll be a post about how to color pasta for your kids to play with, and then all the sudden pitchforks and torches appear and the dye-hards come screaming up to us about how dye is killing our children!!! Whoa. Okay. Bring it in now, moms. The truth is, in short, it’s not. Really, it is NOT killing our kids. No single kid in the history of histories has ever been killed by food dye. Not. One.
Okay, I’ll add a little caveat to that: in 2003 the FDA did send out a warning about blue dye #1 being used in a medical procedure and how it could be linked to death…but, in this warning you literally had to be doing this specific medical procedure (an EN tube, the tube that feeds nutrients directly into a patient’s gut rather than through their mouth) in order for there to be any risk.
Still, this warning that food dye will KILL your kids is everywhere. Irresponsible, much? And honestly, it’s driving me crazy. You dye-hards are driving me crazy. So here are 5 Reasons Why Food Dye Is NOT A Big Deal.
5 Reasons Why Food Dye Is Not A Big Deal
1. Behavioral problems – Yes, some children experience hyperactivity after being exposed to food dye, but not every kid. And the kids who do experience it are also prone to other behavioral issues such as ADHD. So to say that no one should ever expose their children to dye because there’s an off chance they’ll be hyper is a bit of a reach. If your child is hyper, that kinda seems like a you problem and not an everyone problem.
2. Death – Again, not a single child has ever been killed by food dye. And the kids who might be undergoing the procedure that can cause issues have been protected now for twelve years, so really, you’re okay. You. Are. Okay.
3. Organic – I see this one pop up, too. Food dye isn’t organic, and therefore shouldn’t be touched by kids. Kids eat dirt. They’ll straight up lick light sockets if you let them. My brother used to paint walls with his own feces. Yes, you want to try to give your kids the best foods possible, but freaking out because someone suggested that your special little snowflake might enjoy playing with colored rice is just overboard. Your special little child eats his own boogers. Playing with colored rice is NOT going to be the end of the world.
4. Sensitivities – Just like with gluten, it’s like the internet found out that some people might be sensitive to some dyes and suddenly everyone is sensitive. Um, no. They aren’t. If you’re reading this and shaking your head like I’m an idiot, chances are you Googled the symptoms of food dye sensitivity at some point and thought to yourself, “Wow, I have trouble sleeping sometimes. Oh my gosh, my child does wet the bed. Wow, my toddler totally has mood swings.” There’s actually a completely different diagnosis for what you’re doing: hypochondriac. If you’re using the internet to self-diagnose you and your family you’re basically going to find a post somewhere that says you have everything. So stop. Get off the internet. If there’s really a problem, go see a doctor! Maybe the real problem is that or maybe it isn’t, but unless you actually went to medical school, you need to chill.
5. Natural solutions – Yes, there are natural solutions to dye. And if you want to spend hours making dye from things like beets, go ahead. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants to do that. I happen to really enjoy making my nieces and nephews cupcakes that are the color of Princess Elsa’s dress. And they love eating them. So yes, while I could go out and find a rare flower in the Himalayas somewhere that contains a pigment that might come close to matching that color, I’d much rather just go to the store and get some dye from the baking aisle.
Look. I know you freak out because you’re scared. Parenting is probably the scariest thing in the world. And with the internet constantly telling you that everything in the world has the potential to kill you and your children, it’s even worse. But you have to stop freaking out. Maybe you don’t want to make dyed pasta, cool. Whatevs. Just don’t make it. But stop going around freaking everyone else out because you’re freaked out. Dye is really NOT a big deal…for most. And if it is for you, sorry. Sorry for you and your kids. Because those Elsa cupcakes are on fleak.
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that both boogers and feces are organic…so I feel I should note that.
Tuesday 29th of September 2020
So who do I call about removing food dyes from EVERYTHING. You want to know why people buy organic and avoid artificial colors? Because of the psychological manipulation in advertising. People know that the 500 dollars I'm going to spend to remove a white powder that has red dye number 40 shouldn't be a thing I must deal with. The hours of stress and worry. Yeah, give kids a black marker, smart. Give poor children stupid products that enslave their parents to advertising executives. People know it's hacking into their psyche, so they become paranoid and promote pseudoscience. Maybe those advertising executives haven't spent enough time learning science, people rebel toward deception. I don't care about the hidden effects, I'm more concerned about the obvious effects of stress, worry, time spent wondering why we must make life harder. I bought a products for ten dollars that caused 500 dollars in damage. That's the dumbest thing ever. And it's easily solvable, if people stopped using science to make money, but rather promoted needed products to survive life, this wouldn't be an issue. This is why I buy natural, and will continue to buy products without food dye.
Tuesday 23rd of July 2019
Loving everything about this! I have two kids who are the pickiest eaters on the planet and if all I can get them to eat is Lucky Charms one day, I consider that a win. They are 9 and 11, both in gifted classes, straight As, athletic, perfectly normal weight/height, no behavioral issues, no allergies to anything, and haven't even had a slight cold in over two years (even when over half the school was out with the flu this year). They love processed foods, don't like veggies (nor do I, so no biggie), dyes don't seem to have any effect on them, and fast food is quite common around here. I feel terrible for parents who have to deal with food sensitivities, but don't shame those of us who choose to let our kiddos eat brightly colored cereals and get irritated when we have to change how we feel to accommodate you. If my kid wants some crazy rainbow cake for their birthday, I will bake it happily. You don't like that? Pack something for your kids to eat. Just something to think about though...if you choose to eliminate dyes just because and not an allergy issue (allergies are a totally different thing and I understand that), your kids WILL eat them when they go to a friends house...in fact, they will probably binge on Trix as soon as they can because, let's face it, it's awesome. I find that my kid's friends who are limited on sugar/dyes at home go crazy at my house with our fun food whereas my kids (who have full access to candy at all times), haven't even opened their Easter candy (it's almost August) because it's just not that exciting to them. Parenting is hard, so you do what works for you and I'll do what works for me and then lets support each other. If you think controlling their food choices is tough, how are you ever going to handle teenage years (think sex, drugs, alcohol)? I've said my piece...now time for my nightly bowl of cereal!
Thursday 5th of July 2018
Have you actually researched this because google disagrees with this. I googled food dye deaths and it has come up with a lot of results.
Tuesday 23rd of July 2019
Well Google is obviously always right.
Saturday 9th of June 2018
I thought this article was great! My grandaons are nit sensitive to food dyes and we love to color their pancakes! It is super fun! For some reason in todays society people think if they have issues that it is all of our problem. And if we do not adhere to their sons or daughters allergies that we are being ignorant and insensitive. If my grandsons had a food allergy I would go to great lengths to make sure he had a treat so he did nit feel left out. However I would not expect the rest of his friends or clasmates to forego treats that he could not eat. While I do have compassion for children wih food allergies blasting a blogger for making dyed spaghetti noodles (which I am totally going to make) or dyed pancakes, or dyed cupcake icing is beyond ridiculous. If you cant make her priject just don’t. It is as simple as that! Btw, I think these things are totallythebomb! And I bet my grandsons do actually make it to adulthood even though they are occasionally served foods with dye.
Tuesday 27th of February 2018
Food dyes can be a big deal - for people allergic to them. My first experience with this allergy occurred when I was 17 - my eyes so swollen it was a week before I could take out my contacts - worse the tracheotomy tray by the bed in the emergency room because my throat was swollen to the point I could barely breathe - I am lucky I guess because I was old enough to read labels and listen to my body if I was having a reaction. My first allergenic response occurred over 40 years ago - long before internet scares or crazes. Testing could be done - at tremendous expense and nothing definitely proven. Why ?? Because those tests were done with allergens known to be allergens (and natural - meaning peanuts, eggs, dander, plant spores, shellfish,etc - free to cultivate and inject-could be tested for) but synthetic or patented allergens weren't available to test. However every allergic reaction I've had in subsequent years has been with a # something Food dye. Has always been worse when ingested but cannot wear makeup - launder with dyed detergents - or be around some airborne scents - particularly in candles or"febreze" propellants.I cannot imagine how a parent can control the items I have a problem with - and particularly frustrating - those things that have no value or sense - really is that "hottest" pink cupcake necessary?