red 40 foods

The Truth About Red Dye 40

Red Dye 40, also known as Allura Red AC, is a synthetic dye used to give food, drinks, and medicine a bright red color. In the United States it is approved for use in beverages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs,
and cosmetics and, in terms of pounds consumed, is by far the most-used dye.

You’ve seen Gatorade Fruit Punch flavor. Yep, that’s Red 40 that gives it that bright, eye catching color.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use, there are concerns about potential health risks as more people become aware of Red Dye 40. Artificial food color like Red 40 contains petroleum and is manufactured in a chemical process that includes formaldehyde, aniline, hydroxides, and sulfuric acids. Most impurities in the food color are in the form of salts or acids. Sometimes lead, arsenic, and mercury may be present as impurities. 

What are the Harmful Effects of Red Dye 40?

Why should you be aware of Red Dye 40? Because it can impact the health of anyone who ingests them, especially if regularly or in large quantities.

  1. Red Dye 40 contains benzene, a known cancer-causing substance.
  2. Studies have linked artificial food dyes like Red Dye 40 to hyperactivity, including ADHD. Some studies show a link between dyes and increased ADHD or hyperactivity in children. And other studies show an improvement in behavior and attention once the dyes were eliminated. We’ve listed some of these studies below.
  3. Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions.
  4. Red Dye 40 has been linked to a host of physical and mental health issues, including allergies, immune disorders, mind-storms (which are issues with the brain’s wiring or electrical activity).
  5. Red 40 may increase the likelihood of developing inflammatory bowel diseases like Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

It is important to note that Red Dye 40 is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in foods and drinks, and is deemed safe for consumption in most cases. However, some countries have banned the use of artificial food dyes due to the potential risks associated with them.

List of Food & Drinks with Red 40


  1. Mountain Dew Code Red
  2. Cherry 7-Up
  3. Hawaiian Punch
  4. Kool-Aid (various flavors)
  5. Gatorade Fruit Punch
  6. Powerade Fruit Punch
  7. Strawberry Nesquik
  8. Coca-Cola Cherry
  9. Fanta Strawberry
  10. A&W Cream Soda
  11. Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail
  12. Snapple Fruit Punch
  13. Monster Energy Ultra Red
  14. SunnyD Tangy Original
  15. Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters, Fruit Punch
  16. Minute Maid Fruit Punch
  17. Tropicana Twister Soda, Cherry Berry Blast
  18. SoBe Elixir, Strawberry Daiquiri
  19. Crystal Light Fruit Punch Drink Mix
  20. Hi-C Flashin’ Fruit Punch
  21. Welch’s Strawberry Soda
  22. Dr Pepper Cherry
  23. Sprite Remix
  24. Lipton Brisk Raspberry Iced Tea
  25. Arizona Fruit Punch
  26. Propel, Berry Flavor
  27. Amp Energy, Strawberry Limeade
  28. Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino
  29. V8 Splash, Berry Blend
  30. Pepsi Wild Cherry
  31. Dunkin’ Donuts Strawberry Coolatta
  32. Nestea Cool Raspberry Iced Tea
  33. Red Bull Red Edition, Cranberry
  34. Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale
  35. Rockstar Punched Energy Drink
  36. Tropicana Fruit Punch
  37. Yoo-hoo Strawberry Drink
  38. Ocean Spray Cran-Cherry Juice
  39. Country Time Strawberry Lemonade
  40. Tang Fruit Punch
  41. Jolly Rancher Soda, Watermelon Flavor
  42. Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade
  43. Naked Juice Red Machine
  44. Jones Soda, Strawberry Lime
  45. Crush Strawberry Soda
  46. Mott’s for Tots, Fruit Punch
  47. Minute Maid Cherry Limeade
  48. Sunkist Strawberry Soda
  49. Lemonade from various fast food restaurants
  50. Mio Water Enhancer, Fruit Punch
  51. Arizona Kiwi Strawberry
  52. Kool-Aid Jammers, Cherry
  53. Snapple Go Bananas
  54. Welch’s Sparkling Red Grape Juice
  55. Juicy Juice, Berry Flavor
  56. Nesquik Strawberry Milk
  57. Jones Soda, Fufu Berry
  58. Simply Lemonade with Raspberry
  59. POM Wonderful Pomegranate Cherry Juice
  60. Lifewater Yumberry Pomegranate
  61. Crystal Light On The Go, Wild Strawberry
  62. Old Orchard Healthy Balance Cherry Juice Cocktail
  63. Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  64. Sparkling ICE, Black Raspberry
  65. Vitamin Water, XXX flavor
  66. Powerade Zero Fruit Punch
  67. PediaSure Strawberry Shake
  68. Dole Strawberry Kiwi Juice
  69. Jarritos Strawberry Soda
  70. Bai Antioxidant Infusion, Brasilia Blueberry
  71. Jumex Strawberry Nectar
  72. Fairlife YUP! Very Berry Strawberry Milk
  73. Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea
  74. Fiji Water with Raspberry Flavor
  75. Capri Sun Splash Cooler
  76. Diet Snapple Raspberry Tea
  77. Gatorade Fierce Strawberry
  78. Monster Energy Punch Monster Baller’s Blend
  79. Pepsi Berry
  80. Mountain Dew Major Melon
  81. Baja Blast Mountain Dew
  82. Lipton Mixed Berry Green Tea
  83. Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch Organic Juice Drink
  84. Zevia Strawberry Soda
  85. NOS Sonic Sour Energy Drink
  86. BODYARMOR Lyte SuperDrink, Cherry Berry
  87. Starbucks Refreshers, Strawberry Lemonade
  88. Rockstar Pure Zero, Watermelon
  89. 7-Select Replenish, Strawberry Guava
  90. Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale
  91. Welch’s Passion Fruit Juice Cocktail
  92. Diet Rite Red Raspberry Soda
  93. Evian Natural Spring Water, Raspberry Flavor
  94. MiO Energy, Wicked Blue Citrus
  95. 4C Totally Light 2 Go, Fruit Punch
  96. Dole Pineapple & Strawberry Juice
  97. Coca-Cola California Raspberry
  98. Sparkling Ice +Caffeine, Blue Raspberry
  99. Core Organic, Pomegranate Blue Acai
  100. Perrier & Juice, Strawberry & Kiwi

Food with Red Dye 40

  1. Strawberry Jell-O
  2. Red licorice
  3. Strawberry Pop-Tarts
  4. Twizzlers
  5. Cherry Starburst
  6. Fruity Pebbles
  7. Swedish Fish
  8. Skittles
  9. Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries
  10. Lucky Charms
  11. Cheetos
  12. Doritos Nacho Cheese
  13. Kellogg’s Froot Loops
  14. Red Velvet Cake Mix
  15. Campbells Tomato Soup
  16. Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot
  17. Pringles BBQ
  18. Pop Rocks candy
  19. Airheads candy
  20. Red Gummy Bears
  21. Jolly Rancher Watermelon
  22. Red M&M’s
  23. Trix cereal
  24. Reddi Wip Strawberry
  25. Red Popsicles
  26. Cherry Icee
  27. Cinnamon Red Hots
  28. Kinder Joy Eggs
  29. Red Candy Apples
  30. Strawberry Toaster Strudel
  31. Red sprinkles for cupcakes
  32. Red icing for cakes
  33. Cherry flavored cough drops
  34. Kraft Barbecue Sauce
  35. Red frosting for cookies
  36. Red velvet Oreos
  37. Cheez-It Grooves
  38. Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Cream Cheese Frosting
  39. Yoplait Trix Strawberry Banana Bash yogurt
  40. Kellogg’s Eggo Minis Buttermilk Pancakes
  41. Hostess Twinkies Strawberry
  42. Keebler Club & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers
  43. Lindt Lindor Strawberries and Cream chocolate truffles
  44. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Colors
  45. Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Cheeseburger Macaroni
  46. Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Red Velvet Cookies
  47. Reddi-wip Berry Topping
  48. Totino’s Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
  49. Kellogg’s Apple Jacks
  50. SpaghettiOs Original
  51. Quaker Life Cereal, Strawberry
  52. Jif Strawberry Flavored Spread
  53. Kid Cuisine All Star Chicken Breast Nuggets
  54. Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Mixed Fruit
  55. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Shrimp Flavor
  56. Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls
  57. Chef Boyardee Mini-Bites Spaghetti Rings & Meatballs
  58. Tic Tac Freshmints
  59. Hunt’s Snack Pack Gel, Strawberry
  60. Hostess Zingers, Raspberry
  61. Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy
  62. Laffy Taffy
  63. Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum
  64. Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers
  65. Smucker’s Strawberry Syrup
  66. Hot Tamales Cinnamon Candy
  67. Ring Pop Candy
  68. Starburst Jelly Beans
  69. Nerds Strawberry and Grape
  70. Pop-Tarts Frosted Strawberry
  71. Mike and Ike Original Fruits
  72. Sour Patch Kids
  73. Dots Gumdrops
  74. Life Savers Wild Berries Gummies
  75. Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snacks
  76. Mott’s Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks
  77. Red Hots Cinnamon Candy
  78. Now and Later Long Lasting Chews
  79. Sweet Tarts
  80. Jell-O Gelatin Dessert, Raspberry
  81. Trolli Sour Brite Crawler
  82. Ritz Crackers, Bacon Flavor
  83. Strawberry Pop Rocks
  84. Red Swedish Fish
  85. Hot Pockets Pepperoni Pizza
  86. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, Strawberry Yogurt
  87. Yoplait Go-GURT, Strawberry Splash
  88. General Mills Trix Cereal Bars
  89. Jif Strawberry Flavored Spread
  90. Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper, Cheeseburger Macaroni
  91. Keebler Fudge Stripes Cookies, Red Velvet
  92. Little Debbie Cherry Cordials
  93. Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats, Touch of Fruit in the Middle, Mixed Berry
  94. Great Value: Fruit Spins Cereal
  95. Gerber Graduates Fruit Puffs, Strawberry Apple
  96. Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Strawberry Flavored Frosting
  97. Yoplait Original Strawberry Yogurt
  98. Pringles Salt & Vinegar
  99. Breyers Blasts! Oreo Cookies and Cream Frozen Dairy Dessert
  100. Fruit Roll-Ups Strawberry Sensation

How much intake of Red 40 is Dangerous?

The amount of Red 40 (Allura Red AC) that is considered “too much” or potentially harmful varies from person to person, depending on factors such as individual sensitivity, age, and overall health status. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined an acceptable daily intake (ADI) for Red 40, which is the maximum amount a person can safely consume every day over a lifetime without risk. The ADI for Red 40 is set at 7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms) could theoretically consume up to 476 milligrams of Red 40 each day without expected risk, based on the FDA’s calculations. However, the FDA isn’t always right. As more studies areeperformed and we learn more about Red 40, the FDA may change their recommended safe levels in the future.

However, it’s important to note that some individuals might have a sensitivity or allergy to Red 40, leading to symptoms like hives or itching even at lower levels of consumption. Additionally, Red 40 and other food dyes are often found in foods and drinks that are high in sugar or low in nutritional value. Thus, consuming a large amount of these products to the point where Red 40 intake becomes a concern would likely also mean an unhealthy intake of sugars and potentially other additives.

Why Hasn’t the U.S. Banned Red 40?

Back in 2011, the United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Advisory Committee held a hearing on the behavioral effects of synthetic food dyes, technically known as artificial food colors (AFCs). The focus of the meeting was on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so discussion of that disorder was requested as background for understanding the data on AFCs. The controversial committee decision (8-6 vote) was not to recommend banning AFCs or requiring a warning label. So, artificial food colors like Red 40 did come close to being banned.

Studies on Red Dye 40

Autism and Red 40

Food Color and Autism: A Meta-Analysis: This meta analysis found that there is a connection between Autism and food dyes. Autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD are complex conditions in which nutritional and environmental factors play major roles. Appealing food colors stimulate the consumption of different food products. Artificial dyes have neurotoxic chemicals that aggravate mental health problems. Many families with autistic children avoid food dyes in their diet in order to avoid behavioral issues. A study reported that there is a correlation between yellow dye and sleep disturbance. Food colors Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 5 and 6, Citrus Red 2, and Red 40 can trigger many behaviors in most kids. 

AHDH and Red 40

Meta analysis on ADHD and Synthetic Food Color Additives – This study reported that color additives had an effect on hyperactive behavior in children, with a small subset showing more extreme behavior than others. The study concluded that the companies typically add artificial colors to make their products look more appetizing. The chemicals Yellow Nos. 5 and 6 have been in use since the early 1900s, and the FDA approved them for use in 1969 and 1986, respectively. According to the FDA, Yellow No. 5 could cause an allergic reaction for 1 out of every 10,000 people. The amount of dye the FDA has deemed acceptable for daily intake, or ADI, is 5 mg/kg of body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day) for Yellow No. 5 and 3.75 mg/kg bw/day for Yellow No. 6. In 2015 Stevens et al. worked on a recommended amount of dye in servings of processed foods and found that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese contained 17.6 mg of Yellow Nos. 5 or 6 per one-cup serving. Because the chemicals are so similar in color, and thus difficult to tell apart in measurements, the researchers chose the dye that allowed the highest concentration. For a child weighing 30 kg (about 65 pounds), this translates to 0.59 mg/kg bw per serving. Dr. Benjamin Feingold proposed that pediatric hyperactivity and learning problems were due to certain foods and food additives. A study was conducted on 153 3-year-olds and 144 8/9-year-old children. For these children, the challenge drink contained sodium benzoate and a placebo mix was given. The main outcome was determined by using aggregated z-scores measured by observed behaviors and ratings by teachers and parents and a computerized test of attention for 8/9-year-old children in the form of global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA). According to the results, there was increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old typical children due to diet containing artificial colors or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both).

Artificial Food Colors and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Symptoms: Conclusions to Dye for
– In this paper, the authors stated that AFCs
appear to be more of a public health problem than an ADHD problem. AFCs are not a major cause of ADHD per se, but seem to affect children regardless of whether or not they have ADHD, and they may have an aggregated effect on
classroom climate if most children in the class suffer a small behavioral decrement with additive or synergistic effects.

Diet and Nutrition: The Artificial Food Dye Blues

This study is no longer up on their website, but here is the section of this document on “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks” that covered Red 40.

Metabolism of Red 40

In an unpublished report, rats were fed 5.19% of the dye in their diets (White 1970). 29% of the intact dye was excreted in the feces while only 0.1% was excreted in the urine. The parent dye appears to be broken down by gut flora via azo-reduction into two metabolites, cresidine-4-sulfonic acid and 1-amino-2-naphthol-6-sulfonic acid. In another study, rats and dogs were pretreated daily with unlabeled Red 40 followed by 35S-Red 40 for up to 72 hours. Within 72 hours, 92-95% and 76-92% of the radioactivity was recovered in the feces of dogs and rats, respectively. Radioactivity in the urine accounted for only 5.7-19.8% and 2.7-3.6% of the total dose in dogs and rats, respectively. There was significant retention of radioactivity in the guts of sacrificed animals (White 1970).

Genotoxicity of Red 40

Red 40 was negative in the majority of genotoxicity assays performed, but positive in the in vivo comet assay in the glandular stomach, lungs, and colon of mice (Sasaki, Kawaguchi et al. 2002). That indicates that Red 40 can cause DNA damage in vivo.

Hypersensitivity to Red 40

52 patients suffering from urticaria and angioedema for more than 4 weeks were placed on a 3-week elimination diet. Red 40 administered orally in doses of 1 or 10 mg induced a hypersensitivity reaction in 15% of the patients who were generally symptom-free at the time of provocation (Mikkelsen, Larson et al. 1978).

Chronic Toxicity/Carcinogenicity

In the 1970s, Hazleton Laboratories conducted chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity feeding studies in rats and mice, both of which included an in utero phase. Using SpragueDawley rats, the F0 generation included 30 rats/sex/group that were administered 0, 0.37, 1.39, and 5.19% of Red 40 in their chow one week prior to mating, during mating, gestation, and lactation. The test of F1 rats involved 50 rats/sex/group created by choosing random surviving offspring. The F0 and F1 generations were exposed to the same dosage levels. Males and females were exposed for 118 and 121 weeks, respectively. No compound-related effects were reported during the gestation and lactation periods. With the exception of a statistically significant decrease in body weight in high-dose females, investigators reported no consistent adverse effects due to Red 40. They established a NOAEL of 5.19% (2,829 mg/kg/day) for males and 1.39% (901 mg/kg/day) for females (Borzelleca, Olson et al. 1989).

Hazleton Laboratories also performed two chronic toxicity studies in CD-1 mice. In the first study, 50 mice/sex/group (F0) were administered 0, 0.37, 1.39, or 5.19% Red 40 in their chow one week prior to breeding through the gestation and lactation periods. The F1 generation was randomly selected from surviving pups and the chronic feeding study used 50 mice/sex/group. The dosages were the same in the F0 and F1 generations. At 42 weeks, a total of 6 reticuloendothelial (RE) tumors occurred in the males and females (0 in controls, 1 each in the low- and mid-dose groups, and 4 in the high-dose groups). (The reticuloendothelial system is a part of the immune system.) That led the investigators to sacrifice and examine 36% of the animals, reducing each group to 30 mice/sex/group. The remaining smaller groups of F1 mice were fed Red 40 for a total of 104 weeks. By the end of the study, the investigators concluded that Red 40 did not cause acceleration of the appearance of RE tumors (Borzelleca, Olson et al. 1991). However, Dr. M. Adrian Gross, a senior FDA pathologist, concluded that there was clear evidence to support an acceleration effect of RE tumors because there was a decreased latency period without a corresponding increase in overall tumor incidence.

A second mouse study was conducted to address the possibility suggested by the first study that Red 40 accelerated the appearance of RE tumors, a sign of carcinogenicity (Fed. Reg. May 22, 1984). Although the second study used the same dosage groups as the first, the studies differed in several respects. First, the initial study used Ham/ICR (CD-1) mice, while the second used CD-1 outbred mice. Second, the F0 generation in the second study used 70 mice/sex/group, and the F1 generation consisted of 100 mice/sex/ group. Third, the second study did not include a 42-week interim sacrifice. Fourth, the second study used two control groups instead of one. Finally, the mice in the second study were exposed to Red 40 for 109 weeks—five weeks longer than the first study.

The second study, according to the investigators, did not show an early appearance of or increase in RE tumors. Only the high-dose males and females experienced a significant increase in relative and absolute thyroid weight. The investigators set a NOAEL of 5.19% in mice or 7,300 and 8,300 mg/kg/day for males and females, respectively (Borzelleca, Olson et al. 1991).

Limitations of the Mouse Studies

There were a number of problems with the chronic toxicity studies on Red 40. The first mouse study suggested a reduced latency period for RE tumors without a final increased incidence. Also, Hazleton Laboratories found small numbers of RE-system tumors in all treatment groups prior to the 42-week sacrifice, the highest incidence being in the high-dose group. At the time, the FDA recommended killing 36% of the mice to gain information about Red 40’s ability to accelerate the occurrence of RE tumors. The sacrifices were done at week 42 of the 2-year study. However, that left a relatively small number of mice available at the end of the study and reduced the ability to analyze tumor incidence (Lagakos and Mosteller 1981). Because of the controversial early results in the first mouse chronic-feeding study, in 1976 the FDA created a working group of scientists from the FDA, National Cancer Institute, and the National Center for Toxicological Research to monitor the rat and mouse studies being performed for Allied Chemical. Midway through the second mouse study, the working group concluded that the first study did not indicate a risk of carcinogenesis. Following controversy over that conclusion, FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy appointed four non-governmental statisticians, including Havard’s Frederick Mosteller and Stephen Lagakos, to review the statistical methods used to analyze the mouse studies. Those statisticians were independent and not a part of the FDA working group.

Two problems found with the mouse studies included caging and litter effects (Lagakos and Mosteller 1981). Mice housed in the upper row of racks experienced a higher incidence of RE tumors than the mice in lower cages, according to the FDA consultants (Lagakos and Mosteller, 1979). That might have been because cages in both of the mouse studies were not rotated. The incidence of RE tumors was significantly correlated to the row (p=0.0005) and position (p=0.02) of the racks (Lagakos and Mosteller 1979). The working group also noted that it was impossible to know if mice were being housed with siblings (litter effect), which might have had an influence on tumor incidence (Group 1981). Confounders such as potential caging and litter effects strongly decrease the credibility of a study.

A concern regarding the second mouse experiment was the large variation in RE tumor rates compared to the first experiment, though that might have been because different mouse strains were used. Another sign that the second study could not produce definitive results is that the difference in RE death rates between the two control groups was highly statistically significant at the p=0.008 level (Lagakos and Mosteller 1981).

Regarding the statistical analyses of the two mouse studies, Lagakos and Mosteller commented that the difference in RE tumor rates between the two studies limited the conclusiveness of the results. They argued that the statistical methods used by the FDA Working Group were not oriented to detecting an acceleration effect (decreased latency in tumor induction) (Lagakos and Mosteller 1981). Their analysis concluded that both studies suggested a decreased latency period for, and increased incidence of, RE tumors (Lagakos and Mosteller 1979).

Carcinogenic contaminants

As discussed below with regard to Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, Red 40 might contain cancer-causing and other contaminants. Health Canada scientists, using a test method that could detect bound and free contaminants, identified small amounts of aniline, p-cresidine, and 1-naphthylamine in the dye (Lancaster and Lawrence 1991). The p-cresidine is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” according to the U.S. National Toxicology Program, and “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; NTP). FDA considered aniline to be weakly carcinogenic to rats (FDA 1985), though other agencies have not determined that aniline— and 1-naphthylamine—pose a risk to humans (FDA 1985; IARC).

Reproductive Toxicity/Teratogenicity

FDA scientists investigated the potential embryotoxicity and teratogenicity of Red 40. Pregnant female rats were dosed with 0, 7.5, 15, 30, 100, or 200 mg Red 40 /kg bw daily on days 0-19 of gestation through intubation or 0 or 2 mg Red 40/kg bw daily through drinking water on days 0-20 of gestation. No negative effects on maternal reproduction, embryolethality, or fetotoxicity were observed (Collins and Black 1980).


There is evidence, albeit controversial and inconclusive, that Red 40, the most widely used dye, accelerates the appearance of tumors of the reticuloendothelial system in mice. Also, outside consultants appointed by the FDA raised concerns about an FDAappointed Working Group’s statistical analysis of the data. Considering the lack of published metabolism data, the positive results in comet assays, the disputed mouse studies, causation of hypersensitivity reactions, possible causation of hyperactivity in children, and the non-essentiality of the dye, Red 40 should not be used in foods.

Colitis and Red 40

Chronic exposure to synthetic food colorant Allura Red AC promotes susceptibility to experimental colitis via intestinal serotonin in mice – This study examined the effects of chronic exposure to Allura Red AC (AR), a common synthetic food colorant, on the development and severity of colitis in mice. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Chronic exposure to AR exacerbated models of colitis in the mice. This means that the mice who were continuously exposed to AR experienced more severe colitis symptoms than those who were not exposed or intermittently exposed.
  2. While intermittent exposure to AR did not influence the susceptibility to colitis, exposure to AR during early life in mice was found to increase susceptibility to colitis later on.
  3. Chronic exposure to AR was associated with mild colitis, elevated colonic serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) levels, and impairment of the epithelial barrier function via myosin light chain kinase (MLCK).
  4. Chronic AR exposure did not influence colitis susceptibility in mice lacking tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1), an enzyme crucial for 5-HT biosynthesis. This suggests that the elevated 5-HT levels may play a role in the colitis development and severity.
  5. Cecal transfer of the perturbed gut microbiota caused by AR exposure worsened colitis severity in recipient germ-free mice. This suggests that the changes in gut microbiota caused by AR exposure play a role in colitis development and severity.
  6. Chronic AR exposure elevated colonic 5-HT levels in naïve germ-free mice, suggesting that the effects on 5-HT levels are not solely dependent on changes to the gut microbiota.

It is important to note that these findings are based on a mouse model, so we cannot say for sure that it has a similar effect in humans, but it’s absolutely possible. Further research is needed to fully understand colitis and Red 40 in humans

Countries that have banned Red 40

Several countries have banned the use of Red 40 in food products. These countries include Norway, Finland, France, Austria, and the United Kingdom, among others. Red 40 is banned in Norway and Finland, while France, Austria, and the United Kingdom have banned the use of Red 40 and other food dyes that have been linked to health issues. The European Union has also implemented a warning notice on most dyed foods, which will be required by July 20th. While Red 40 is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in foods and drinks, some organizations, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, believe it to be carcinogenic and have been working to pressure the FDA to ban food dye in commercially prepared food since 2008.






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