Food With Red 40


Hi! Welcome to my blog, where I’ll be sharing my favorite recipes that use Red 40.

I’m not a professionally trained chef, but I have been cooking since before I could talk. My mother was the one who taught me how to make cookies, and now that she’s retired, it’s up to me to keep the family tradition going.

I love cooking because it’s such a creative outlet for me—there are so many ways you can put together different ingredients and end up with something totally unique (and delicious).

I’m also a big fan of using Red 40 in my cooking because it makes everything look so pretty! You know what they say: “Red makes things pop.” It really does make your food pop like crazy when you add it into your recipes!

Food With Red 40

Red dye 40 is a commonly used synthetic color additive. Some research has linked food dyes to allergies and neurobehavioral effects in children, including symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers have extensively looked at the connection between diet and ADHD. Although dataTrusted Source suggest that food dyes increase ADHD symptoms, they only seem to do so by a small amount. However, some children may be more sensitive to their effects than others.

Keep reading to learn about what red dye 40 is, how to find it on food labels, and how it can affect children with ADHD.

What is red dye 40 made of?

A container of frosting, one of which is red.
Sean Locke/Stocksy

Red dye 40 is a synthetic food dyeTrusted Source made from petroleum.

It is one of nineTrusted Source certified color additives that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for use in food and beverages. Manufacturers use synthetic color additives more oftenTrusted Source than natural options because they provide a more uniform color, do not add unwanted flavors, and are generally cheaper.

Food manufacturers can only use synthetic additives that the FDA has certified. Natural color additives, which are pigments from vegetables, minerals, and animals, are exempt from certification. However, the FDA must still approve them for use.

Foods with red dye 40

Red dye 40 is one of the most commonly usedTrusted Source color additives. It is present in many foods and beverages, including:

  • energy and sports drinks
  • soda
  • protein powders
  • cereals
  • dairy products
  • gelatins
  • candy
  • chewing gum
  • confections

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How to find red dye 40 on food labels

A person can identify whether a food or beverage contains red dye 40 by reading the ingredients list. Although manufacturers are not required to disclose the amount of a listed ingredient present in the product, they must list the ingredients by weight.

The ingredients labels on packaged foods and drinks may sometimes list red dye 40 by one of its other names, which include:

  • Allura Red AC
  • Red 40
  • Red 40 Lake
  • FD&C Red no. 40 Aluminum Lake
  • FD&C Red no. 40
  • E129
  • CI Food Red 17
  • INS no. 129

Red dye 40 and ADHD

Research in both animals and humans has shown synthetic color additives such as red dye 40 to have links to ADHD symptoms and other neurobehavioral conditions.

In 2011Trusted Source, the FDA said that synthetic color additives had no adverse effects. However, research has since shownTrusted Source that they can cause ADHD symptoms and that some children are particularly sensitive to their effects.

According to a 2021 report from the state of California, research does indicate that children who consume synthetic food dyes, including red dye 40, can experience hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral issues.

Experts believe that red dye 40 and other synthetic color additives may cause behavioral changes due to:

  • a depletion of minerals that play a role in growth and development, including zinc and iron
  • chemical changes in the brain
  • hypersensitivity, which causes allergic reactions such as inflammation

Many studies on synthetic color additives look at red dye 40. Although the data vary, the majority of studies report at least some connection between color additives and ADHD symptoms.

Sensitivity to food dyes varies from one person to another, but most research has focused on children. Adverse effects can occur in children with and without preexisting behavioral conditions, such as ADHD


38 New Red dye ideas | food dye, dye free foods, red dye 40


Hyperactivity symptoms can includeTrusted Source:

  • constant fidgeting
  • an inability to concentrate
  • being unable to sit still
  • excessive movement
  • an inability to wait their turn
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

In adults, hyperactivity symptoms may also include restlessness and excessive talking.

Research indicates that hyperactivity in some children may increase due to exposure to synthetic food dyes, including red dye 40.

Sugar, food dyes, and ADHD

People often assume that sugar consumption, especially in children, can lead to an increase in ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity and inattention.

However, there are mixed study findings on whether sugar and ADHD are related.

According to a 2019 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders, there is some evidence that a diet high in refined sugar and saturated fat increases the risk of ADHD. However, the authors say that the current evidence, which relies primarily on observational studies, is weak and that more research is necessary.

A 2020 study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine suggests that there may be a relationship between sugar consumption and ADHD symptoms. However, another 2019 studyTrusted Source found that there was no link between sucrose, a type of sugar, and ADHD incidence in children.

Although there is a need for more studies to determine the effects of sugar on ADHD symptoms, most research suggests that there is a link between food dyes and hyperactivity. This is especially true of the widely studied food dyes, including red no. 3, red dye 40, and yellow no. 5.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERKnowledge is power. Get our free daily newsletter.

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Red dye 40 is a synthetic food dye made from petroleum. Research has shown that it is linked to certain ADHD symptoms, such as hyperactivity, and may also cause other neurobehavioral effects in children.

People can check for red dye 40 on food labels if they wish to limit their intake. It is important to note that it may go by other names, including Allura Red AC, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, FD&C Red no. 40 Aluminium Lake, and FD&C Red no. 40.

How bad is Red 40 and more synthetic dyes?

Americans are now eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. That statistic isn’t as surprising when you consider that since then food dyes have made more and more of our foods colorful-from breakfast cereals to ice creams. While natural colorants made from foods like beets are available, many manufacturers opt for synthetic dyes-which may have dangerous health consequences, particularly for children, according to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is why the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer-watchdog group has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban them. Such man-made food dyes appear in ingredient lists as a name of a color with a number following it: Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6.

The three most widely used culprits-Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40-contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer.

Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A U.S. study published in Science found that when children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity consumed a food-dye blend they performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo. A 2007 British study found that children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.) The results, published in The Lancet, prompted Britain’s Food Standards Agency to encourage manufacturers to find alternatives to food dyes. In July 2010, the European Parliament’s mandate that foods and beverages containing food dyes must be labeled as such went into effect for the entire European Union.

Preliminary evidence suggests that many children have a slight sensitivity to food dyes-and a smaller percentage are very sensitive. “We see reactions in sensitive individuals that include core ADHD symptoms, like difficulty sitting in a chair and interrupting conversations,” says David Schab, M.D., M.P.H., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and co-author of a 2004 meta-analysis that found food dyes promote hyperactive behavior in already hyperactive children. Even so, says Schab, this isn’t the most compelling reason to give up food dyes. “Foods with dyes are often riddled with other nutritional problems, like excess calories and fat,” says Schab, who points out that childhood obesity is a far greater public health concern.

Bottom Line: If you’re concerned, ditch the potentially dangerous synthetic dyes. Look for foods bearing the green-and-white USDA certified organic label, but be aware that foods labeled “made with organic ingredients” may still contain synthetic dyes. You can also check product ingredient lists for beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin (a paprika extract)-as all are natural colorants. Counterintuitively, the terms “artificial color,” “artificial color added” or “color added” also indicate that nature-derived pigments were used since synthetic dyes must be listed by their names.


From Bean to Bar—What You Need to Know About Ethical Chocolate

Have you ever wondered what the certification stamps and claims on chocolate bars mean? Read on to find out how you can make an informed, ethical choice when buying chocolate.

Did you know that cacao is a delicate crop? The fruit produced by the cacao tree contains the seeds from which chocolate is made. Damaging and unpredictable weather conditions such as flooding and drought can negatively impact (and sometimes destroy) the entire yield of a harvest. Cultivating a crop of trees that takes about five years to reach peak production, and then produces a similar yield for about 10 more years before needing to be replaced, presents a challenge all its own. And that’s assuming an ideal climate—no floods, no drought.

Globally, there is a huge demand for (some say dependency on) cacao beans, which thrive in tropical climates near the equator. (“Cacao beans” refers to the raw seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree, while “cocoa beans” is how they are referred to after having been roasted.) According to the 2019 Global Market Report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the largest exports of cacao beans in 2016 came from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, generating a combined total of $7.2 billion. Surprisingly or not, the United States imported $1.3 billion worth of cacao, making it the third-largest importer behind the Netherlands and Germany.

Because cacao is a hand crop that relies on minimal pieces of agricultural machinery for cultivation, many concerns have ben raised around the cacao industry over the years, from farming practices to issues relating to poverty, workers’ rights, gender inequality, child labor and climate change.

So, what exactly is ethical chocolate, and what can we do as consumers to stay informed and make the moral choice? We spoke with a few experts for their insights.

What is ethical chocolate?

While there is no official definition, ethical chocolate refers to how the ingredients for chocolate are sourced and produced. “Chocolate has a complex supply chain, and cacao can only grow near the equator,” says Brian Chau, a food scientist, food systems analyst and founder of Chau Time.

You may be surprised to learn that 70% of the 5 million cacao-farming households around the globe receive less than $2 per day for their labor. Chau adds, “Chocolate trade is set up in mostly former colonial possessions; issues around oppression come into question.”

Ethical chocolate, then, is meant to address the socioeconomic and environmental issues throughout the supply chain, including how chocolate is produced under ethical standards and where cacao farmers and laborers receive fair and sustainable wages. The term also extends to how the land is treated, as growing cacao trees could mean replacing rainforests which can cause deforestation.

How do I know if the chocolate I buy is ethical?

You may not be able to differentiate between chocolate made with or without ethically produced cacao beans. “The basic composition of raw materials will be the same,” says Michael Laiskonis, a chef at the Institute of Culinary Education and operator of ICE’s Chocolate Lab in New York City.

However, looking for third-party certifications, such as Fairtrade Certified, the Rainforest Alliance seal, USDA Certified Organic and Certified Vegan may help you choose chocolate sourced from ethically produced beans.

Fairtrade Certified

The Fairtrade certification stamp suggests that the lives of producers and their surrounding communities are improved by being a part of the Fairtrade system. By participating in the Fairtrade system, farmers receive higher shares of revenue based on the minimum price model, which sets the lowest level for which a cacao crop may be sold, and have more bargaining power during trade negotiations.

Rainforest Alliance seal of approval

Chocolate products that bear the Rainforest Alliance seal of approval (including an illustration of a frog) are certified to contain cacao that has been cultivated and brought to market with methods and practices that are considered by the organization to be both environmentally sustainable and humane.

USDA Organic label

Chocolate products that bear the USDA Organic seal ensure that the chocolate products have gone through the organic certification process, where cocoa farmers need to follow strict production, handling and labeling standards.

Certified Vegan

Cacao beans, by default, are a vegan product, so what does it mean when chocolate companies state on their packaging that they are a vegan product?

Because there are no U.S. government regulations or guidelines for vegetarian or vegan labeling, companies may label their product as “100% Vegan” or “No Animal Ingredients” with no restrictions. However, some chocolate products may include honey, beeswax, lanolin, carmine, pearl or silk derivatives.

Some chocolate makers, though, may have the certified vegan logo displayed on their products. Independent agencies like the Vegan Action/Vegan Awareness Foundation provide vegan certifications using internationally recognized vegan standards and guidelines to evaluate the products. Receiving the seal of approval adds a layer of confidence and trust to a brand. Still, consumers may want to do their due diligence and read ingredient lists and the company’s standards to ensure that the brand is credible and trustworthy.

Potential drawbacks of certifications, seals and labels

While third-party certifications benefit farmers and producers to a certain extent, they also occasionally draw criticism from some in the industry for not going far enough to support farmers. For instance, Laiskonis says that a great deal of cacao grown by smallholder growers is organic by default. However, the hefty-priced certification process may be out of reach for these growers, preventing them from being one step closer to fair pay.

A study found that Fairtrade certification successfully increased the income of coffee producers and had benefited their local community. However, unskilled workers saw no increase in their wages. There were also cases of child labor found on cocoa plantations under the Fairtrade system.

With that in mind, Tim McCollum, CEO and founder of Beyond Good, suggests, “Look beyond certifications. Understand the problems at a high level. Look for brands that are doing something different.”

Laiskonis agrees, “The more visibility a [chocolate] maker provides, from sourcing to manufacturing methods, the greater the promise of a more ethical and tasty transaction.”

Are there nutritional differences between ethical and conventional chocolate?

There are no differences between ethical and conventional chocolate from a nutrition standpoint. Cacao beans are naturally bitter, and chocolate producers may add sugar and milk to mask the bitterness of the beans. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the listed cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content. Generally, milk chocolates are higher in sugar and less bitter-tasting than dark chocolates, which contain less sugar and taste more bitter.

Chocolate made with plant-based milk alternatives, such as coconut, oat and nut additives, have become increasingly popular. These ingredients may offer sweeter and creamier textures than traditional dairy-based chocolates. Laiskonis advises, “Pay attention to the ingredient statement on chocolate packaging … dairy-free bars may be manufactured on shared equipment that also processes those containing milk products.”

Where can I buy ethical chocolate?

Due to the growing demand for ethical chocolate, you can now find them in your local grocery stores in addition to artisan markets and online. Food Empowerment Project has also come up with a list of dairy-free, vegan chocolate brands.

Bottom line: Should I buy ethical chocolate?

While your decision to purchase ethical or conventional chocolate is a personal choice, knowing where your favorite chocolate (and food in general) comes from makes you appreciate the farmers, the food system and the environment more, as well as reflect on the underlying socioeconomic issues.

“Understanding the journey of a cacao bean from farm to factory provides transparency, [making visible] the care and effort farmers put into growing their cacao,” says Troy Pearley, executive vice president and general manager, North America, of Divine Chocolate. 

Matt Cross, the co-founder of Harvest Chocolate, adds, “Buying chocolate from makers who support farmers’ prosperity is a good way to make a change.”

Laiskonis agrees, “Seeking out responsibly produced chocolate is the best way a consumer can effect change for farmers upstream in the supply chain.”

13 Unexpected Items That Don’t Need to Be Refrigerated

Some common foods don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator—and some may even taste best at room temperature.


Open your fridge and you’ll probably find most, if not all, of these items chilling away inside. But for some of these foods, it’s not the best storage solution—and for others, you’re not doing them any flavor favors by using and eating them straight from the refrigerator. Read on to find out which ingredients are much better stored at room temperature, and which taste best when they have time to warm up a bit.

First, a reminder: Always note the expiration date and follow the storage instructions on packaging. And remember the appropriate way to store many foods changes after they are opened. When in doubt, keep in mind that your fridge has a more stable temperature than your pantry, which may fluctuate seasonally or even day to day.


What would a diner booth be without a bottle of ketchup at the table, ready for dipping fries and adorning burgers? The acidity of the vinegar and tomatoes in ketchup keeps it shelf-stable for up to a month. If you love ketchup enough to use it up quickly, you can leave it on the counter. For long-term storage, keep ketchup in the fridge and bring it out before you’re ready to eat your burger.

Fresh mozzarella cheese

If you’re lucky enough to have freshly made mozzarella cheese on hand, enjoy it at room temperature and don’t let it languish in the refrigerator. The cold, dry air of the fridge can toughen the texture of delicate mozzarella and dull its flavor, so eat it fresh.


Henhouses don’t have refrigerators. It’s fine to keep farm-fresh eggs at room temperature as long as they’re used within a week or two. Supermarket eggs should be refrigerated. It’s easy to bring them to room temperature for baking. Leave them on the counter for a few hours or submerge the eggs in a bowl of warm (not hot!) water for 10 minutes.

One exception: It’s easier to separate cold egg whites and yolks because a warm egg yolk is much more susceptible to breaking. If a baking recipe calls for room-temperature whites or yolks, separate them first and then let them warm up on the counter.


Hot toast, cold butter—everyone knows it’s a recipe for disaster. If you love buttered toast as part of your breakfast routine, the USDA says it’s fine to leave butter out overnight so it will be soft enough to spread the following morning. Or invest in a butter crock, a special type of butter dish that uses a water-filled base to create an airtight seal.


Cherry, grape, heirloom, Roma … No matter the variety of your tomatoes, store them at room temperature for the best taste and texture. Tomatoes stored in cold temperatures, like that of a refrigerator, stop ripening and the flesh becomes grainy and unappealing.

Pico de gallo

If you’re making this fresh tomato-and-onion salsa, do it at the last minute for ultimate freshness. Chilling the mixture can make it watery and not as flavorful.

Stone fruits

If your peaches and nectarines are still hard as a rock when you bring them home from the market, give them a few days on the counter and they’ll ripen beautifully. Putting them straight in the fridge will leave you with a mushier, less flavorful fruit.


Though you might not notice it when schmearing a bit on a sandwich, mayonnaise isn’t as rich and creamy straight from the fridge as it is at room temperature. Storing mayo in the refrigerator helps extend its shelf life and wards off potential contamination from utensils, but it will have a deeper, tangier flavor if it has time to warm a bit. If you prefer cold mayo, that’s fine too!


Although storing chocolate treats in the fridge can help prevent melting in warm weather, you should always bring your chocolates and candies out of the refrigerator and back up to room temperature before serving. Cold dulls the flavors and creates a brittle “snap” to chocolate coatings.


Like commercially blended peanut butter, Nutella can stay in the pantry or the cupboard all the time. When refrigerated, the oils can separate and the texture can become chalky.

Baked egg dishes

Leftover frittatas, egg cups and other baked egg dishes have a delicate texture that can get rubbery when reheated too quickly in a microwave. Let them come to room temperature (they’re really delicious this way) or gently reheat in a toaster oven.

Soft-rind cheeses

Brie, Camembert and all creamy cheeses with soft, edible rinds taste their best when they’re warm. Though they might be in the refrigerated case in the cheese section, let these gooey rounds come to room temperature before serving them on your snacking board.

Steak and barbecue sauces

Your steak is sizzling and your brisket is steaming hot—don’t dull the heat by slathering it with ice-cold sauce. Take your bottles of sauce out of the fridge before the meal is ready, so all the flavors can meld together.

11 Items You Should Never Store in Your Pantry

To prolong shelf life and prevent spoilage, here are 11 foods you should keep in the refrigerator or freezer instead of the pantry.


Hey, sometimes you don’t see the fine print “refrigerate after opening” on the jar’s label. Or, you grew up with the peanut butter in the pantry and never thought anything of it. But we’re adults now, and we can be smarter about how we store things.

If you keep these common ingredients refrigerated or frozen, you’ll cut down on food waste and keep these kitchen staples fresher longer—especially if you’re buying in bulk.


The natural oils in nuts can turn rancid when exposed to warm temperatures, giving them an unpleasantly stale taste. And when exposed to moisture, nuts can harbor unsafe bacteria as well. Store them in the freezer in an airtight container for up to a year. This goes for tree nuts, peanuts and seeds like pine nuts too.

Maple Syrup

If you’re buying pure maple syrup and not one of those sugary “pancake syrup” blends, do yourself a favor and keep it in the fridge. The cold temperatures inhibit mold growth and keep the flavor fresh.

Cold-Pressed Oils

To prolong the shelf life of oils labeled “cold-pressed,” keep them in the refrigerator. Because of the low-heat method used to extract the oil, they may spoil at warm temperatures. If the oil gets cloudy when chilled, that’s fine—just take the bottle out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before using.

Infused Olive Oil

Garlic-infused olive oil might have a wonderful taste, but it can also develop dangerous botulism when stored at room temperature, according to the USDA. To be as safe as possible, the USDA recommends storing infused oil in the refrigerator for up to seven days, or freezing. Thaw in the fridge before using in recipes.

Cured Meats

Sealed cured meats may be displayed at the supermarket at room temperature, but once opened, they should go straight into the fridge. Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic to keep air away from the meat, and store in the cheese drawer or another spot away from light.

Fish Sauce

While fish sauce can technically be stored for up to six months in a cool, dark place, warm temperatures are not its friend: gas can build up inside the bottle. Keep the pungent liquid capped in the refrigerator to prevent any unfortunate smells from penetrating the pantry.


Whether whole grain, Dijon or your favorite variety, mustard won’t maintain its strong flavor for more than a month at room temperature after the jar’s been opened. Keeping it in the fridge will help that flavor last for up to a year.

Peanut Butter

Like whole nuts, the natural oils in peanut butter and other nut butters can go stale and rancid when left in the pantry. The cool temps of the refrigerator will not only keep these products fresh, but also help stabilize those oils so you won’t have to stir them back in as frequently.


Sick of bread going stale before you can finish the loaf? Keep it in the freezer! Wrap whole or pre-sliced loaves in wax paper and foil to prevent them from drying out—this goes for all types of breads, from sourdough boules to baguettes to bagels. Frozen bread thaws quickly in the refrigerator, or simply toast slices or pieces directly from the freezer.


Storing blocks or bars of chocolate in the fridge or freezer can help prolong their shelf life, but be careful. Chocolate should not be exposed to moisture, so wrap it very well and make sure it’s in an airtight container. Thaw frozen chocolate in the refrigerator, then bring it to room temperature before using in recipes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

You might keep cookie dough in the freezer to bake up whenever you get a craving, but you can also stash baked cookies in there for snacking. Cool the cookies completely before sealing in an airtight container, and they’ll stay as fresh as the minute they first came out of the oven. No dry and crumbly leftover sweets in this house!EatingWell

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