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keobooks's avatar

Is it possible to buy food coloring in the US without red 40?

Asked by keobooks (14322points) November 19th, 2013
7 responses
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I know it sounds weird, but my husband can’t have red 40. He breaks out in hives. I want to make Christmas cookies this year and I can’t find any dye made without red 40. I thought kosher would be the ticket, but no. I tried shopping in the UK, but all the dye was imported from the US and I assume had red 40 in it even though it’s banned in most of (or all of) Europe.

I saw a recipe for homemade red dye and it was a lot more work than I am willing to put in (boil beets for 4 hours—no thanks!)

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keobooks's avatar I just answered my own question. I’ll leave it here in case anyone else wants to know. I googled for about an hour and then Pinterest came to the rescue.

ibstubro's avatar

Glad you found your answer, @keobooks!

I knew the answer you yes, and you saved me the time searching. Isn’t red 40 made from crushed beetle bug shells?

I swear can can taste red 40. I detest Red Velvet Cake, and I can only eat so many red M&Ms in a row.

gailcalled's avatar

You can dye anything with beet juice, fresh from the beet. If you have ever made borscht, the red coloring transfers from the beet to everything with absolutely no effort.

@keobooks: Why should it sound weird; he is allergic to the stuff.

Here are some safer alternatives and links to some more ideas.

dafox's avatar

@ibstubro You are thinking of carmine, also known as Crimson Lake, cochineal extract, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, or E120. Carminic acid gives the cochineal insect its color and can be extracted from the body and eggs. Red 40 is made from coal tar or petroleum.

ibstubro's avatar

Oh, thanks, @dafox!

I just remembered that once when I was at The Butterfly House in St. Louis they had a lobby display of the red bugs used for dye.

Another time it was cockroaches of the world – bleh, spit – but following that I had to go back for ‘Sticks and Mantises’


Unbroken's avatar

Looks like yall got it all under control. But no one mentioned red berries or cherries. If I don’t wear gloves when working with them I always end up with stained hands.

Thanks for the ideas too.

fluthernutter's avatar

Whole Foods also carries India Tree.

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