Red Dye Allergy Foods To Avoid 102336860

Red Dye Allergy Foods To Avoid

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Updated on March 7, 2024

Reviewed by Yasmin Elwan

There’s a certain allure to brightly coloured food, isn’t there? A cherry red lollipop or a vibrantly hued drink can be almost irresistible, but have you ever felt a bit off after enjoying these treats? We certainly did once upon a time, and when we delved into it further, it was quite a shocker to discover some surprising facts about the common additive known as Red Dye 40.

This piece aims to shed light on various foods that harbour this dye—offering crucial knowledge for those who may be sensitive to Red Dye 40 or have a red dye allergy. Let’s jump in without further ado and explore how we can make wiser dietary decisions for an elevated sense of well-being!

Key Takeaways

  • Red Dye 40 is a synthetic dye that can have negative impacts on health, including allergic reactions, migraines, and behavioural effects in children.
  • Foods to avoid include candies, sodas, packaged snacks, dairy products, and breakfast cereals, as they may contain Red Dye 40.
  • To identify Red Dye 40 on food labels, look for terms like “Red 40”, “Red No. 40”, “Allura Red AC”, or “E129”.
  • Choose foods without red dye 40 by opting for fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding packaged snacks and condiments.
  • Explore natural food colouring alternatives like beet juice or turmeric for homemade baking and cooking.

Overview of Red Dye 40 and its Impact on Health

Red Dye 40, also known as Allura Red, is a synthetic dye that can have various impacts on health. It has safety concerns and side effects, including allergic reactions and migraines. Additionally, it has been linked to behavioural effects, especially in kids.

Red Dye Allergy Foods To Avoid
Red Dye Foods To Avoid

Safety Concerns and Side Effects

Red Dye 40 is not good for your health. It can be bad news for people with allergies. Some people have a hard time after eating it. They may get sick and feel dizzy or faint. Their blood pressure might drop as well. This dye has Benzidine, which could lead to bladder cancer. The same thing goes with other food colours like Red 3, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6. So, we must take care when we eat foods with these dyes.

Allergic Reactions and Migraines

Red Dye 40 can lead to harmful effects like allergic reactions and migraines. Itchy skin, hives, headaches, or red cheeks can all be signs of an allergy. They happen when your body thinks Red Dye 40 is bad for you. Migraines can also occur as a result of an allergic reaction to the dye.

People with migraine experience various symptoms. Some may feel a sharp pain in their head, while others may see flashing lights or feel sick to their stomachs before the pain starts. This makes it hard to do normal tasks until the headache goes away. So, avoiding Red Dye 40 might make headaches less frequent for those people.

Behavioural Effects, Especially in Children

Red dye 40 has been tied to changes in kids. Some studies show a link between this dye and more ADHD or hyperactivity in children. This food colouring can impact their behaviour, making them move around more. They may struggle to sit still or pay attention.

More so, Red Dye 40 is known to worsen ADHD symptoms. Even the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard felt concerned about it. They looked at how synthetic dyes like Red Dye 40 change children’s behaviour. Therefore, parents need to be careful with foods containing this additive.

Food Sources of Red Dye 40 to Avoid

Candies, sodas, packaged snacks, dairy products, and breakfast cereals are some examples of food sources that may contain Red Dye 40.

Red Dye Allergy Foods To Avoid
Red Dye Foods To Avoid

Candies and Sweets

Red Dye 40 hides in many candies and sweets. These treats may look fun, but they can cause harm to your health. They hold lots of this artificial colour. We found out that it can even set off allergies in some people. To keep safe, scan the food labels before you buy or eat any candy or sweet treat. This way, we all stay healthy and enjoy our goodies without fear!

Sodas, Sports Drinks, Teas, and Juices

Red Dye 40 is often found in sodas, sports drinks, teas, and juices. This colour makes drinks look bright and tasty. Yet, it can cause problems for some people. They may have an allergic reaction to it. This means their body does not like this dye.

Energy drinks or protein powders also use Red Dye 40 as a colour adder at times. It gives them a vibrant hue that catches your eye. However, don’t let the colour fool you! If you have food allergies or sensitivities to this dye, be careful of what you drink next time! Always read labels before buying your favourite drink.

Packaged Snacks and Condiments

Packaged snacks and condiments often have Red Dye 40. This includes cookies, chips, crackers, ketchup, and mustard. Even your favourite breakfast cereals might have this dye. It is also present in many puddings and sodas, which are common snack foods. But don’t worry! You can find tasty options without this dye, too.

Dairy Products and Frozen Desserts

Ice cream, popsicles, and other frozen desserts often have Red Dye 40. This artificial food colouring brightens the look of these treats. Even dairy products like yoghurt can contain this dye. It’s a big part of why some yoghurts are so brightly coloured. So, as much as you may love these foods, it’s worth checking the labels next time, as you might find Red Dye 40 listed there.

Breakfast Cereals and Baking Mixes

When it comes to avoiding foods with Red Dye 40, breakfast cereals and baking mixes are something to be mindful of. These products often contain artificial food colouring, including Red Dye 40, which can trigger allergic reactions or migraines in some people. It has also been linked to behavioural issues in children, like hyperactivity and ADHD.

So, if you have a red dye allergy or want to cut back on artificial additives, it’s best to choose breakfast cereals and baking mixes that are free of Red Dye 40. There are plenty of alternatives out there that use natural food colouring instead!

Identifying Red Dye in Food Labels


When shopping for food, it’s important to check the labels for Red Dye 40 and other food additives. To identify this dye on food labels, check the ingredient list for “E129” or “Red 40.” Here are some tips to help you identify them:

  • Look for “Red 40”, “Red No. 40”, or “FD&C Red No. 40” on the ingredients list. This indicates the presence of this dye in the product.
  • Be aware that Red Dye 40 may also be listed as “Allura Red AC” or “E129”.
  • Pay attention to other food additives that may cause allergic reactions or have harmful effects, such as Yellow 5 and Yellow 6.
  • Keep in mind that different countries may have different regulations and labelling requirements for food additives, so it’s important to understand the general risks associated with these substances.

Alternatives and Tips for Red Dye-Free Eating

You can choose foods without Red Dye 40, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also avoid common habits like purchasing packaged snacks and condiments that often contain artificial food colouring. Moreover, you can explore natural food colouring alternatives, like beet juice or turmeric, for homemade baking and cooking.

Choosing Foods Without Red Dye 40

When shopping for food, it’s important to be aware of which foods contain this dye. Here are some tips for choosing foods without Red Dye 40:

  • Look for natural food options: Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables which don’t contain artificial food colourings.
  • Stick to unprocessed foods: Foods like fresh meats, seafood, and whole grains are less likely to contain Red Dye 40.
  • Read labels carefully: Avoid foods that list Red Dye 40 or any other food dyes in the ingredient list.
  • Choose organic products: Organic foods are less likely to contain artificial colourings.
  • Be cautious with packaged snacks: Many processed snacks, like chips and cookies, can contain Allura Red. Check the ingredient list before purchasing.
  • Make your own sauces and dressings: By making your own condiments at home, you can control what ingredients go into them and avoid unnecessary additives.

Learning Common Habits to Avoid

As food lovers, we should learn some common habits to avoid when trying to steer clear of Red Dye 40 and other artificial food dyes. Here’s what we’ve found:

  1. Say no to brightly coloured candies and sweets: Many colourful candies and sweets contain Red Dye 40, so it’s best to opt for naturally coloured treats or those made with alternative food colourings.
  2. Be cautious with sodas and drinks: Sodas, sports drinks, teas, and juices often have artificial food dyes. Look for beverages that are naturally coloured or those labelled “dye-free.”
  3. Beware of packaged snacks and condiments: Many packaged snacks like chips, crackers, and cookies contain Red Dye 40. Check the ingredient list before buying them. The same goes for condiments like ketchup, salad dressings, and sauces.
  4. Watch out for dairy products and frozen desserts: Some ice creams, yoghurts, and other dairy products may contain Allura Red to give them a more appealing colour. Opt for plain or naturally coloured options instead.
  5. Be mindful of breakfast cereals and baking mixes: Breakfast cereals can be loaded with artificial food dyes. Read the labels carefully or choose less processed options such as oatmeal or homemade granola.

Exploring Natural Food Colouring Alternatives

We’ve found some great alternatives to Red Dye 40 that you can try. Here are a few options:

  • Beet juice: Beet juice is a natural and commonly used substitute for red food colouring. It adds a vibrant red colour to your dishes without the need for artificial dyes.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is a bright yellow spice. It can be used as a natural food colouring alternative. It works well in savoury dishes like curries or rice.
  • Paprika: Paprika is made from ground red peppers and can add a subtle red colour to your food. It’s often used in soups, stews, and meat dishes.
  • Carrot juice: Carrot juice can give your dishes a light orange colour and works well in recipes like cakes, muffins, and smoothies.
  • Raspberry puree: If you’re looking for a fruity flavour along with a vibrant red colour, raspberry puree is an excellent choice. You can use it in many desserts like ice cream or cheesecake.


Being aware of the foods that contain Red Dye 40 is important for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to artificial food colours. By avoiding candies, sodas, packaged snacks, and dairy products that may contain this dye, you can reduce the risk of allergic reactions and potential behavioural effects. Remember to always check food labels and explore natural alternatives for a Red Dye 40-free eating experience.


1. What is a red dye allergy?

A red dye allergy is an allergic reaction to certain food colourings that are commonly used to give a red or pink hue to various foods and beverages.

2. What are the common symptoms of a red dye allergy?

Common symptoms of a red dye allergy include hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, digestive issues, and, in severe cases, anaphylaxis.

3. Should I always check the ingredient labels for potential allergens?

Yes, it’s important to always check the ingredient labels when shopping for food products if you have allergies, as manufacturers may use different names for certain ingredients or add hidden sources of allergens.

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