The famous blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese that many Americans have been serving their families has come under fire for containing artificial coloring. The bright orange cheese powder contains artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. Some may not be surprised that this bright-looking ‘cheese’ has artificial food coloring in it. However, what may really surprise you is that the same company, Kraft, makes the very same macaroni and cheese product without the artificial food coloring for consumers in the United Kingdom. Surprised? I was too.
FD&C Yellow 5
Is there anything wrong with having some brightly-colored cheese powder on your mac and cheese? Turns out, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 can be hazardous to your health, even though they are both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – along with 3,000 other additives.
Yellow 5 is also known as Tartrazine, and manufacturers use it in bakery goods, cereals, pet food, desserts, medications, cosmetics, and other products. After Red 40, Yellow 5 is the most commonly used artificial dye, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of Yellow 5 is 5mg/kg/day which equates to 150 mg a day for a 66 pound child.
In one study in the document,Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, a 50mg dose of Tartrazine caused hyperactiveness in children and in another study the same dose caused allergic reactions including dizziness, heart palpitations, blurred vision, feeling of suffocation, and others. The document also reports that in the 1970’s several cases of Tartrazine-sensitivity were reported and reactions were mainly hives and asthma.
Yellow 6 is the third most-common food dye, you can find it in bakery goods, cereals, sausages, beverages, dessert powders, drug, cosmetics, and other foods. The ADI for Yellow 6 is 112.5mg for a 66 pound child.
Yellow 6 maybe contaminated with significant levels of carcinogens, can cause mild to severe hypersensitivity reactions in a small percentage of the population, and can cause hyperactivity in some children.
Toxic Food Dye: How Much is Too Much?
According to the document, Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks, someone who is a ‘high user’ consumes about five times as much dye as the average person over their lifetime; some children maybe consuming more than the recommended amount on a daily basis.
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