Posts Tagged ‘food dyes’

Food Dye Frustration – Are You Listening Kelloggs?

Posted on January 16th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart


Kelloggs Food Dye Response I have written previously about my youngest son’s sensitivity to artificial food dyes. Last night we had yet another unexpected encounter with a colorant and, after just a few hours of sleep, I am once again on the phone to a large, multinational company about their decision to add (unnecessary) dye to a food product.

When your child is sensitive to artificial food dyes, you read every label. You watch for terms like “Yellow No. 5″, “Allura Red” and “Annatto.” You have a mental list of foods that are “safe” and you check new products with suspicion. You live in hope that food manufacturers will come to understand that consumers care about this issue and there would be a competitive advantage to those companies that vow to avoid dyes.

Yesterday my husband offered to do some grocery shopping. He asked what we needed and I mentioned that we were pretty much “out” of cereal. He came home with Kelloggs Frosted Flakes. The sugary cereal is not one that I eat but it has been a “safe” food for my son. He’s an active sixteen year old and he eats many times a day. On occasion, he enjoys a bowl of cereal before bed.

Frosted Flakes Canadian IngredientsLast night, he decided to open the new box of Frosted Flakes and enjoy a bowl before calling it a night.

Unfortunately, for some completely unfathomable reason, Kelloggs has changed the recipe since we last checked. The box of cereal that was once safe, now includes color.

Why oh why would they change their recipe and add color to a previously “safe” product?

After checking the label on the Frosted Flakes box, I telephoned the Kelloggs toll free number (twice) and got a busy signal each time.

I went to their website and was required to sign up for an account in order to leave a question. I signed up for an account but was unable to input my true birth year because of a glitch on their website. For some reason, you cannot scroll to a birth year prior to 1995 AND if you aren’t of age, you aren’t allowed to ask a question. Mmmmmm. How convenient is that?

Despite busy signals and an uncooperative website, I was committed to my mission.

I tried the phone number again and ended up at a Call Centre in the United States. Their list of (Canadian) Frosted Flakes ingredients does not include color. Rather odd… I left my name and number and asked them to get me the information and call back. I also pointed out the problem with (not being able to answer a question on) the website.

Next, I went onto the Kellogg Canada Facebook page and the response I received astonished me! (See above) I have never encountered this sort of resistance to answering a consumer question.

I expressed my amazement and guessed Annatto. They responded as follows, “Hi Carolyn. Could you provide us with your contact information via Private Message, so we can contact you directly and help answer your questions.”

I have one question. I want to know WHAT COLOR IS IN CANADIAN FROSTED FLAKES.

Kelloggs Facebook Direct Message About Food Dyes

It is now more than twenty-four hours since my inquiry. I have provided an email address via Facebook DM and they have seen it. Their response was a follows, “Thank you for providing us with your contact information. We’re following up with our labelling team. We will get back to you as soon as we have this information.

They have not replied to yesterday’s telephone inquiry so I called them again today. Today they asked for the Best Before Date and the UPC on the package and then I was asked to tell them what colorants my son is sensitive to. Frankly, I don’t think that should matter. I do not understand why they can’t/won’t tell me the name of the colorant.

Anyhow, I gave them a list of natural food dyes and they say that I will hear back from them. I explained that I am very disappointed in Kellogg Canada Inc.

Artificial Food Dyes, Behavior and My Son

Posted on July 3rd, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Artificial Food Dyes, behavior and my son -

Carolyn shares details of her son’s sensitivity to artificial food dyes

About five years ago, I managed to figure out what was “wrong” with my youngest son. Some of the time he was a happy, relatively polite, relatively well-behaved, active kid but (and this was a huge issue), some of the time he was unpleasant, miserable and defiant.

We were at a loss to understand what was happening with him. It was completely illogical and sometimes scary. Frankly, at times, my husband and I worried it was a mental health issue. We consulted our family doctor and attended family counseling.

After one particularly miserable evening, I sat at my computer and started searching “kids and anger”. I think the first website that gave me hope was that of The Feingold Association of the United States. My son’s symptoms couldn’t be described as ADHD but there seemed to be “overlap” in some of their descriptions and our experiences.

Anyhow, we decided to try a one week elimination diet. We removed all coal tar food dyes from the foods he ate. Although we had planned to experiment for seven days, we knew in three or four that we had identified and solved the problem. He was a completely different boy when not consuming artificial food dyes – especially those derived from coal tar.

Now, fourteen years old, happy and healthy, he does not eat any artificial food dyes derived from coal tar or petroleum and he also avoids Annatto (which is technically considered “natural”).

Red dye derived from coal tar can be called Red Dye 40, Red Dye #40 or Allura Red. In addition to eliminating Red Dye #40 from his diet, my son also avoids Yellow Dye #5 (also known as Tartrazine) and Blue Dye #1 and #2.

Basically, if a food, medicine, toothpaste or beverage has an artificial dye or Annatto as an ingredient, he does not ingest it.

Interestingly, after we figured his intolerance out, we had one professional say to us that kids who are sensitive to artificial food dyes are likely very sensitive to alot of things. It is part of their “make up.”

On the “good news” front, the issue of sensitivity to color is now much better known than it was five years ago. President’s Choice (Real Canadian Superstore) has recently announced that they are eliminating artificial dyes from their products by the end of this year. McCain also seems to be moving in this direction. Some products, especially in the United States are now specifically labeled “No Artificial Colors.”

We have also discovered a few rather interesting differences between Canadian and American products. Miracle Whip produced in Canada has artificial food dye in it, American Miracle Whip does not. Jug chocolate milk, sold in Canada, has artificial food dye in it, American jug chocolate milk usually does not.

We don’t trust anything – we have found artificial dyes in vanilla ice cream, in chocolate pudding, in French fries, in cheese, in salad dressing and in snack crackers. I read every label before I put a product into my shopping cart or before he eats it. We have even asked to see labels when eating in restaurants.

We are very fortunate because he is equally committed to avoiding the artificial food dyes. He never asks to eat anything with dye even when tempted by cupcakes decorated with sprinkles or the cherry on top of a milkshake. Obviously, artificial food dyes and Annatto make him feel terrible.

There is not a day that goes by without me feeling grateful that we solved the mystery of my son’s behavior. What once seemed illogical and frightening is now completely understood and avoidable. We wonder, how many other children and their families are unknowingly dealing with sensitivities like his. We wonder how many children are having difficulty sleeping or managing their anger because something they ate was made to look “pretty” by adding an artificial food dye. This desire to create a more attractive food at less cost is unnecessary and is hurting our children. I continue to advocate for (at minimum) better food labeling but I would much prefer an outright ban of coal tar based artificial food dyes.

Some products we purchase (in Canada) because they don’t include artificial food dyes or Annatto:

Cavendish Farms frozen potatoes, Fanta soft drinks, Colgate regular toothpaste, (some) Sudafed cold tablets, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes but not Kellogg’s Vector (seems crazy), Smarties, Bryers’ Natural Ice Cream, Powerade Clear and Kirkland Organic Chocolate Milk, available at Costco.

Our Artificial Dye Pinterest Board

Websites with helpful information about Artificial Dyes and Behavior

Red Dye 40

Center for Science in the Public Interest – Urges FDA to Ban Artificial Food Dyes

Artificial Dyes and Behavior on YouTube

Tiffany Kenney’s report

I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. It is one that I am passionate about.

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