Petroleum is the yellow liquid that is mined from the earth to produce gasoline and motor oil. It’s also refined and used in many food products that line american grocery shelves, most of these being marketed towards children.
These by-products are often consumed in the form of bright food coloring, flavoring and preservatives in processed snacks. Yellow dye #5 and red dye #40 are well-known variations.
Currently, The FDA isn’t concerned about the petroleum products used in American food, but may of these are outlawed in other countries because they pose serious health risks.
In fact, artificial food dye have caused the following effects in recent studies (1):
- Allergic reactions
- Chromosomal damage
- Organ damage
- Birth defects
Food dyes can also contain unexpected and unknown impurities. In fact, these substances are so toxic that the British government and European Union have ended the use of dyes in food throughout Europe since 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 account roughly for 90% of the dyes used in foods (2).
Even some fresh oranges are dipped in dye to brighten them and provide uniform color, says Michael Jacobson, executive director at CSPI.
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Red 40 has been proven to cause immune-system tumors in mice and allergic and hyperactive reactions in children.
Yellow 5 has the same effects but contains multiple carcinogenic substances and has been linked to organ damage.
Yellow 6 was found to cause adrenal tumors in animals as well as hypersensitivity in children.