The Poison in the Pantry

Red food coloring is everywhere – and dangerous.

Red food dye is illegal in nearly every country except for the US.

It is known to cause mental and physical health problems. I can’t function productively when I have had the slightest bit of red dye and this is a common thing among people in the US.

Many people freak out at the thought of eating bugs ,but they don’t realize they are eating them nearly every day. Then most common red dye is made from carminic acid which is in found in a few different types of beetles. The most common bug used is called a cochineal bug which lives in cacti. This is then mixed with aluminium or calcium to get what we have in our typical dye. 


Red dye is linked to many physical and mental health issues. It is known to cause severe asthma attacks, allergic reactions and even cancer. I have consistently had a reaction to red dye. I avoid as much as possible but it’s everywhere. When I eat anything I have to check the label. If I accidentally have it, even the smallest amount I get sick for days, cannot focus, and in extreme situations I don’t remember what happened.

Cancer has been proved to be caused by red dye. There are multiple studies tied to this and many have tried to fight the FDA to make this illegal but there hasn’t been any change. The FDA has recognized them but not made any changes. People are dying from this and have no idea that it is the dye and put in literally everything.

Red dye is in the food we are feeding kids regularly. Most fruit snack and gummies brands put dye in their food to look appealing for less. This causes hyperactive symptoms similiar to those of like ADHD. Before my parents found out about my red dye allergy, they didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was uncontrollably hyper, and super sick all the time. They took me to doctors and couldn’t find out what was wrong. Once my parents found out and I went a week without it I was completely fine.

Carminic acid is in foods and products you would never expect. It is put in low quality frozen meats, baby food, vitamins, caramel sauce, make-up, and canned foods. The things that red dye is put into is ridiculous. Products that don’t even look red have red dye in them. It is a constant struggle of checking labels to see if I can eat something. When I go out to eat I cannot order anything that might have red food coloring without annoying my server with questions about ingredients that they don’t even now exist. Products that I ate for years prior and didn’t have dye change their ingredients and add red dye to make their products cheaper.

There are healthy alternatives to this dye, organic brands have switched over to fruit and vegetable extracts and beet juice instead of dye that pigments the same but it completely better for our health. The cost increase in the food to avoid cancer and attention issues is worth the cost.