The color blue is so rare in food items, probably because blue foods aren’t particularly appealing to humans (or animals for that matter). “Almost universally, it is difficult to get a consumer to try a blue-colored food,” Gary Blumenthal, a representative from International Food Strategies. Blue, purple and black were “color warning signs” of potentially lethal food. In fact, the color blue actively suppresses our appetites and it is even recommended to put a blue lightbulb in the refrigerator to curb overeating.
So if the food industry uses food coloring giving the food appeal to consumers, why use the color blue an unappealing color to the consumer? They have kept the ‘blue’ in fun foods such as candies and sports drinks. Aside from Blue the unappetizing nature of blue foods, they are predicted to be seen more in the near future.
If using natural colorings, the color blue is full of antioxidants, which have been associated with prevention of diseases like cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, health-conscious eaters are starting to pay more attention to them.
But first, let’s take a look at the artificially blue colors accepted by the FDA and why you should think twice about using it or consuming it.
Blue #1 (E133) and Blue #2 (E132):
These colors have been banned in Norway, Finland, and France, due to studies showing them to cause brain cancer and inhibit nerve-cell development.
FD&C Blue No. 1 (E133) Names: Brilliant Blue FCF, FD&C Blue No. 1-Calcium Lake, B1, Coal Tar Dye.
It is a synthetic version of the plant-based indigo that has a long history as a textile dye. It is a greenish-blue dye and is served in 711,659 Pounds of Total Dye Certified (includes lakes) The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (HACSG) recommends to avoid Blue #1 because this substance may cause allergic reactions.
- Bronchoconstriction (combined with Erythrosine, Indigo Carmine)
- Eosinophilotactic response – a specific effect of injections of allergenic extracts. Esophagitis is inflammation that damages the lining of the esophagus.
- Chromosomal damage
- Negative effects on the CNS (central nervous system) of human cell lines. NCBI
This dye is used in ice cream, canned peas, packaged soups, popsicles and icings.
FD&C Blue No. 2 (E132) Names: Indigotin, Indogotine, Indigo Carmine, Coal Tar Dye
is a deep blue dye that provides a violet to blue shade in applications. Introduced in the early 1900s, FD&C Blue No. 2 is one of the oldest certified food color additives used in the US. It is distinguished by its rich royal blue color, which may be used in baked goods, biscuits, ice cream, candy, confections, cherries, sausage, sherbet, dairy products, dessert powders, cereals, snack foods, convenient foods, and pharmaceuticalsIt is also called indigo blue or Indigotine. Indigotine is a petroleum product – 550,883 Pounds of Coal Dye Certified (includes lakes). From all these products, you can understand the volume reported above.
Blue #2 is linked to and may cause: (People with allergies should avoid it.)
- Asthma (Breathing problems)
- Brain tumors
- Bronchoconstriction (combined with Brilliant Blue, Erythrosine)
- High Blood Pressure
- Skin rashes
- Other Allergic Reactions.
Hyperactivity. Nearly 300 children in a study were given a beverage with artificial colors and a preservative. Drinking the beverage resulted in increased hyperactivity in the children.
As a result of the study, one candy company, Nestlé-Rowntree, stopped selling one of its candies with a blue shell until it replaced the artificial color with a new blue color made from spirulina, a blue-green algae.
In Male rats, high doses of blue #2 have statistically significant increases in brain cancers and other abnormal cell development. No human studies have been reported, and experts disagree about the safety of Blue No. 2 Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that FD&C blue no. 2 is safe for use in food and supplements. Since it adds nothing to the nutritive value of food and evidence for its safety is questionable, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recommends it not be used in foods at all.
WHAT GRADE DOES ARTIFICIAL BLUE GET?
According to Be Food Smart’s report card, FD&C blue no. 2 receives a failing grade: “D”. (click the “D” and find out what the requirements are for such a grade.)
The meaning of Dyes & Lakes: Dyes are liquid colorants soluble in water, ethanol or propylene glycol. Lakes are dry, non-soluble dyes used to coat products such as candies or pills.
WHERE IS BLUE FOUND?
The colors are found in many baked goods, beverages (soda and sports drinks), dessert powders, candies, cereals, drugs, and other products including pet food.
In 1969, Blue #1 received FDA approval for general use in foods and
In 1982, the FDA permanently approved the color for use in externally applied drugs and general use in cosmetics excluding the area of the eye.
WHY BE CONCERNED?
They don’t kill you, they just maim you overtime and sometimes immediately.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Get your colors from natural resources and be cool with blue.
Homemade BLUE coloring ideas:
- Mashed Blueberries – for colored eggs, cover in juice enough to completely cover the eggs
- Red Cabbage Leaves: How to video
- Spirulina – Mix powder in water.
- Purple Grape Juice
- Red Onion Skins heavily steeped
Thankfully, consumers’ have a growing preference for natural foods is leading some companies to either not add colorings or to switch to safe natural colorings. And, since the visual aspect is considered to be an important factor for the selection of products by final consumers, you have a bigger voice and a loud voice to encourage industry to change.
Please visit my blog post Be Cool With Blue of the benefits of natural blues.
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