January 27, 2023

CSPI and Consumer Reports Want Red Dye #3 Banned

CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) and Consumer Reports want the government to ban Red Dye #3 for several reasons, mostly because the FDA has found the additive causes cancer in laboratory animals. Those organizations, along with other consumer advocate organizations, petitioned the FDA to ban this ingredient on October 24, 2022. Now they are asking the public to sign a petition to help.

CSPI and Consumer Reports Want Red Dye #3 Banned

According to federal law, a color additive “shall be deemed unsafe, and shall not be listed, for any use which will or may result in ingestion of all or part of such additive, if the additive is found by the Secretary to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal.” And according to the Delaney Clause, the FDA can’t find as safe the use of any additive that it has been found to induce cancer when ingested.

FD&C Red No. 3 is used as a food dye in popsicles, candies, and gel decorating frostings, which are primarily eaten by children. It was first approved for use in 1907. Several studies have also linked this dye to hyperactivity and neurobehavioral effects in children, according to Consumer Reports.

In 1990, the FDA terminated the provisional listings of this food dye for use in cosmetics, externally applied drugs, and for all uses of the lakes of Red Dye #3. (Lakes are a precipitate of the soluble dye made when the dye is mixed with a metallic salt.) It was permanently approved for use in food and ingested drugs at that time. And the FDA has not acted on the dye in food for more than 30 years.

CSPI says that “There is no scientific or public health justification for permitting the use of FD&C Red. No. 3 dye in food while prohibiting FD&C Red No. 3 lake in food and both the dye and the lake in cosmetics and externally applied drugs.”┬áThe International Association of Color Manufacturers says that this dye is safe at the levels that people typically consume.

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