The Red Dye Free Store - Where to find products without synthetic Dyes

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Here are some steps for eliminating red dye 40.

First, Read all food labels. Food colors are generally listed ...avoid Red Dye 40 - it is derived from petroleum, but the trick is sometimes they will say artificial colors - avoid these! Carmine is also a red dye, but it is derived from a bug. I avoid this too! There are much more pleasant ingredients to use than that. Don't trust the color of things. For example, all of the M&M's have Red Dye 40 in them. In order to make brown, they needed to use red 40, mixed with some other colors. I used to just avoid the red ones until I found out that all of the M&M's have it in them with various amounts.

Some goldfish crackers do not have red dye 40 in the ingredient list. The goldfish crackers that do have red dye 40 in the ingredient list needs to be avoided, because like the M&M's all of the crackers have red dye 40 in them with various amounts.

Next, almost every medicine has Red 40 in it. Read can often find alternatives and dye-free medications. Benedryl, and Tylenol has a dye-free option. Children's cough syrups and medicinal liquids are notorious for having Red Dye 40 in them. Now not only are your kids feeling sick, they are also whining, crying, fighting and angry!

Check with your pharmacist to see if there is an alternative to the medication. Even antidepressants can have Red 40 in them - no wonder so many people are not feeling any better after trying them! When I need to take Pseudofed for sinus problems, I wash the red coating off before taking it.

Colored cereals, cake mixes, frosting, fruit snacks, candy, Poptarts, yogurts, baked goods, barbecue sauces, soft drinks, juices, Tostitos, Doritoes, and other snack chips and even ice creams can have red-dye 40 in them. I even found in one particular bag of Tostitos 100% White Corn Scoops with Hint of Jalapeno had Artificial Color (including Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1, and Red 40). Ironically it had this written on it, "Made with All Natural Oil - We grow the best snacks on Earth." Why would 100% white corn scoops need all of those artificial colors in it??? Also, if they do grow the best snacks on Earth, don't you think they would at least be good for you? So, don't let the Natural Oil fool you into thinking that it's good for you.

Toothpastes and mouthwashes also can have red dye 40 in them . There are alternatives to all of these, but you just have to really read the labels to find the right ones.

Never trust baked goods without an ingredient list - even store bakeries add this coloring.
Lastly, check out for a list of foods to avoid. You will be surprised! In our home we avoid all artificial food colorings because the chemical structure of the yellow dyes are very similar to red dye 40 and has a similar but less dramatic affect on our children. But, please don't get overwhelmed - it is possible to go dye-free! I did it!


  1. We have gone to all natural foods, no dye, and it has made a significant difference in my children, especially my two with ADHD. The is awesome for dye free candy!!!

  2. Excellent article! I'm doing an article on red dye 40 this week --- yours was VERY informative!! Thank you!

  3. To Liz:
    Thank you for your comment! I would love to read your article.
    Please post where we can
    find your article. I'd like to share it with my readers.

  4. Is up to date??

  5. I have no good memories of red food coloring because it usually looks gross and have refused to eat items it was made with. One kind of red dye called Carmine is made by boiling bugs and this adds a new level of grossness.

  6. I'm finally learning about the harmful GMO's and artificial dyes in our foods but everywhere I look I see them and I don't know where to find a list of food without them. What CAN we eat? Any advice?

  7. My son just spent most of the afternoon and evening with a bellyache and finally threw up around 1 AM! I'm not sure if its an allergy to Red 40 but the contents were red and he'd had some Swedish fish Italian Ice at Rita's earlier (of which he said to never take him back to again LOL) He said he felt better after throwing up and his tummy no longer ached. After reading this article and others, I'm leaning toward the red dye allergy. I'm going to watch him closely throughout the night just to be sure. And he won't be eating ANYMORE Swedish fish of ANY kind!

  8. My 7 year old has had tics for the last several years that would come and go for no reason. His were heavy and constant snorting/sniffling and coughing. We went the usual route of allergy testing and medications, ENT visit with imaging of his sinus's and still nothing. It would be here for months straight and then nothing for a month, then out of the blue it would be back for a few weeks and gone for months. I couldn't correlate it to foods, seasons, or stress! Last year he started doing some really heavy blinking then he started nodding his head when he did it. Freaked me out and I even was thinking Tourette's. Because the Dr.'s had only told us to ignore it, it eventually became disruptive in class and other 7 year olds weren't ignoring it. The Dr. suggested Nuero meds and dismissed a friend of mines suggestion of red40 being a possible culprit. I decided to not to the meds and eliminate red40. Three weeks later, ALL tics were gone. We went 6 months without any tics. Then after some investigating at Easter time my son told me a friend of his shared some Jelly Beans with him and because he thought he was doing the right thing, he ate the other colors (pink and blue). Slight tics came back right before my eyes in the middle of a conversation. I started seeing him blinking a lot and snorted a few times. We have been super strict for a few weeks and they have disappeared again.
    I think now that we are learning more about this that I will be cutting this out of my other kids diets too. My kids have had issues with anger, so now I am curious if this could be a key part to that.

    1. Hi Kristy,
      My son also suffered from Tics. Eye blinking and excessive humming. I noticed when we allowed him something with blue dye in it a few years back that his tics had also increased. Thank you for sharing your child's experience with it. I'm also sure that the anger issues that your child had were also related to the artificial colors. You probably noticed a huge difference after removing the dyes. Yes, the get angry, but not the unmanageable anger that comes from ingesting the dyes. Is that what you experienced too?
      Great to hear that your children are doing better! Parenting is challenging enough without the negative affects of artificial colors. ;)

  9. Hi! Im just starting research into going dye free and we're going to give it a test run to see if it helps my son. The link you provided says it doesn't work. Is there another site that lists the foods to avoid. This all seems a little overwhelming right now!

  10. Hi Leia,
    Sorry, I don't know of another website at this time. However, if you check the labels on each of the foods that you typically buy - if they have artificial colors in them than it will read in the ingredient list Red dye 40, yellow lake or yellow 5, or blue lake or blue 1. Fortunately, they are making so many more foods without artificial colors! They now have frosting for cakes that say, "no artificial colors!" I wish you the best!


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