Other countries have advised that children not consume Allura Red AC, a common US food coloring additive

allura red ACAlso known as FD&C Red. No. 40 Calcium Lake and FD&C Red. No. 40 Aluminum Lake, Allura Red AC is America’s favorite red. It’s the color of so many unreal foods that, for junk foodies like myself, somehow taste like comfort and joy.

Sometimes, when I’m eating candy, I imagine I enjoy it so much because I’ve finally been able to ingest all those plastic toys people told me to get out of my mouth when I was one-whole-year-old.

It’s a food coloring found in soft drinks, candy, cereal, children’s medications, beverages, snacks, gelatin desserts, etc. etc.

Note, if you please, children’s medications.

Out of pure boredom, it’s common for me to Wiki random things that I’d like to know more about. Why not one of the top-five most common food coloring additives in the US? Hey-o, sounds like a right good idea!

Meh. After doing maybe eighteen seconds of research, I realized my body could do without the stuff. Does that mean I’ll eliminate all bad foods from my diet? No. Ignorance is bliss, for sure. I’m going to eat Swedish Fish and know now. My hope is that, maybe just once, I’ll decide to skip the fish.

US agencies that oversee our food safety say it’s okay for Allura Red AC to be in our food. I’m sure there are some restrictions, but they seem pretty minimal. It’s in children’s medications, for pete’s sake.

So, in case you don’t read Wiki yourself, I’ll quote just the ‘Regulation‘ section to you:

……….”In Europe, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in DenmarkBelgiumFrance and Switzerland, and was also banned in Sweden until the country joined the European Union in 1994.[13] The European Union approves Allura Red AC as a food colorant, but EU countries’ local laws banning food colorants are preserved.[14] In Norway, it was banned between 1978 and 2001, a period in which azo dyes were only legally used in alcoholic beverages and some fish products.[15]

In the United States, Allura Red AC is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in cosmeticsdrugs, and food. It is used in some tattoo inks and is used in many products, such as soft drinks, children’s medications, and cotton candy. It is by far the most commonly used red dye in the United States, completely replacing amaranth (Red 2) and also replacing erythrosine (Red 3) in most applications due to the potential health effects of the two dyes. On June 30, 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for the FDA to ban Red 40.”[16]

It seems like such a “gray area” for one of our vibrant primary colors…

Jenna Beaulieu

About Jenna Beaulieu

Jenna is a writer and fine art photographer who recently moved from the Saint John Valley region to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. She’s a fan of excellent music, homemade gravy, and colored pencils (also, short books and long books, good pens, flannel, and when the June bugs don’t really come out much that year). For more about Jenna and her work, visit her website at www.jennabeaulieu.com