Should the use of Red Dye 40 be banned from use in foods produced and sold in the United States?

Shouldthe use of Red Dye 40 be banned from use in foods produced and soldin the United States?

Shouldthe use of Red Dye 40 be banned from use in foods produced and soldin the United States?

Theuse of synthetic food colors is a practice that has been carried outfor years. The foods we eat every day, including drinks, wheatproducts, candies and other forms of manufactured foods contain foodcolors. One of the food colors widely used and permitted in theUnited States by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) is the Red Dye 40.Red 40 also known in other names as Allura Red AC is a red azo dye isa dark red powder used a sodium salt and added in most foodsincluding foods that are not necessarily red. It was initiallyintroduced in the United States to replace the use of amaranth as afood coloring. In Europe, the dye has been banned for use in foodsfor what has been termed as being harmful. In the U.S debate has beenraging on whether to continue using Red 40 or ban its use in foodsproduced and sold in the country. Center for Science in the PublicInterest is the main proponent of the ban. FDA on the other hand is amajor opponent of the ban of Red 40.

Argumentfor the Ban of Red 40

  1. It causes Behavior Problems in Children

Mostof the foods that use food color are targeted for children. Severalstudies have shown that Red 40 has a number of negative effects. Areport by Southampton University in 2007 for example showed azo dyesincluding Red 40 have negative effect on a child’s behavior. Itleads to enhanced ADHD in children (Nigg,Lewis, Edinger, &amp Falk, 2012).This may lead to children contemplating suicide and even a reducedIQ.

  1. The Dye Has Been Banned In Europe

Theuse of Red 40 has been banned in Europe. The Center for Science inthe Public Interest (CSPI) has persistently pushed for the ban ofthis dye. It beats logic that the drug has been banned in Europe andcontinues to be used in the U.S despite all the evidence pointed toits negative effects (Arnold,Lofthouse, &amp Hurt, 2012).

  1. It has no Nutritional Benefit

Red40 is synthetic and is extracted from petroleum. It has nonutritional benefits when added to foods. In addition, there areseveral natural food additives that can be used, which hasnutritional values.

Argumentagainst the Ban

  1. Behavior Effects are On Selected Children

Thenegative behavior effect on children that is caused by Red 40 is onlyon a small number of children especially those with ADHD (Potera,2010).Therefore only children with this problem should avoid foods withthis dye.

  1. The Dye Has Been Used For Years No Notable Effects

Red40 food color has been used over the years. It has been approved bythe FDA and has not shown any significant effects on consumers, apartfrom children with ADHD. Why should it be banned for millions ofconsumers when the few who are affected can chose other foods withnatural food colors? (Potera,2010).

  1. It is Cheap Readily Available and Safe

Itis not possible to do away with food colors. Most foods would not beattractive to consumers were it not for food colors. Natural foodcolors have also been linked with health effects as some containmercury. Red 40 is safe and good for use in foods (Shim,Seo, Lee, Moon, Kim, &amp Park, 2011).


Theuse of Red 40 in foods in the United States has been approved by FDA.I believe that it should be banned like in Europe. The behavioreffects it causes, and with no nutritional benefits makes it notworth the risk. There are natural food colors that can be used likestrawberry which have been successful elsewhere.


Arnold,L. E., Lofthouse, N., &amp Hurt, E. (2012). Artificial food colorsand attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms: conclusions to dye for.Neurotherapeutics,9(3),599-609.

Nigg,J. T., Lewis, K., Edinger, T., &amp Falk, M. (2012). Meta-analysisof attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder orattention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, restriction diet,and synthetic food color additives. Journalof the American Academy of Child &amp Adolescent Psychiatry,51(1),86-97.

Potera,C. (2010). Diet and nutrition: the artificial food dye blues.Environmentalhealth perspectives,118(10),A428.

Shim,S. M., Seo, S. H., Lee, Y., Moon, G. I., Kim, M. S., &amp Park, J.H. (2011). Consumers’ knowledge and safety perceptions of foodadditives: Evaluation on the effectiveness of transmittinginformation on preservatives. FoodControl,22(7),1054-1060.