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.