The Truth Behind Red 40

The food dye found in popular snacks

by Toree Fisher (Staff Writer) – 11/6/15

Bags of Hot Cheetos
Bags of Hot Cheetos

While people satisfy their cravings with many popular foods containing Red 40, also known Allura Red, they are often oblivious to the truth behind the ingredients in these food products. Red 40 is the most common artificial food dye found in many foods that primarily attract children and adolescents.

Although Red 40 is commonly used in foods eaten on a daily basis, “it has the potential for serious side effects” according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Red 40 may cause symptoms of swelling around the mouth and hives. Also, this food dye may lead to allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children.  Research has shown that children who have a high level of hyperactivity from the food dye they ate tend to perform worse on test.

Red 40 has certain ingredients in which the U.S Department of Health and Human Services says is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

One of the food products that contain Red 40 is Hot Cheetos, a popular snack that people all over the world eat on a regular basis without knowing how unhealthy this popular snack really is. “I understand I should cut down on eating them daily due to the effects of the unhealthy ingredients but they are too addicting to cut out of my diet completely,” explained sophomore Jessica Almazan.

Along with the Red 40 ingredient, Hot Cheetos have little to no nutritional value. Senior Ami Amaral states, “I try not to eat a lot of Hot Cheetos because I know they aren’t the best for your body.”

Other popular food products that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration containing Red 40 food dye are fruit snacks, cereal, and pop tarts. Red 40 can also be found in unexpected products such as cold medicines and cough drops. Health teacher Nanci Hanover recommends students to limit the intake of Red 40 food dye.

However, the debate on whether Red 40 is toxic or not still stands. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Sweden and not recommended to children in Europe.

 

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