Written by Gavin van De Walle, MS, RD on April 29, 2020 — medically reviewed by Amy Richter, RD, Nutrition

Red Dye 40 is among the most widely provided food dyes, and one that the many controversial.

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The dye is believed to be attached to allergies, migraine, and mental disorders in children.

This short article explains everything you need to know about Red Dye 40, consisting of what that is, that potential side effects, and also which foods and beverages save on computer it.

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Red Dye 40 is a artificial color additive or food dye make from petroleum (1).

It’s one of the ripe certified shade additives authorized by the Food and Drug management (FDA) for use in foods and also beverages (2).

It’s additionally approved together a food dye for usage within the european Union (3).

Certified shade additives should undergo FDA certification every time a brand-new batch is produced to ensure lock contain what they’re legally claimed to.

Conversely, exempt shade additives carry out not call for batch certification, however the FDA need to still approve them before they deserve to be offered in foodstuffs or beverages.

Exempt shade additives come from natural sources, such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, minerals, and insects (4).

Manufacturers use color additives in foods and beverages to improve naturally arising colors, include color because that visual appeal, and offset color loss that may occur because of storage conditions.

Compared through their organic alternatives, synthetically produced color additives provide a more uniform color, blend easier, are cheaper, and also do not include undesirable seasonings (2).

For this reason, synthetic color additives space used more widely 보다 natural color additives.


Red Dye 40 is a artificial food colorant or dye created from petroleum. Every batch that Red Dye 40 need to undergo an FDA certification process.

Is Red Dye 40 safe?

Based on present evidence, the eco-friendly Protection agency (EPA) has figured out Red Dye 40 to it is in of low concern (5).

Furthermore, the Food and farming Organization and also World wellness Organization agree that the estimated dietary exposure come Red Dye 40 for civilization of all ages does not current a health problem (6).

Red Dye 40 has an acceptable everyday intake (ADI) of 3.2 mg per pound (7 mg per kg) of body weight. This converts to 476 mg because that a 150-pound (68-kg) human being (3).

The ADI is an calculation of the quantity of a substance in food that deserve to be consumed day-to-day over a lifetime without adverse health and wellness effects.

The europe Food safety Authority (EFSA) approximated that the mean exposure that red dye indigenous foods and beverages is below the ADI for civilization of any kind of age (3).

One study showed that Americans eras 2 years and also older consumed an mean of 0.002 mg of Red Dye 40 per pound (0.004 mg per kg) of body load per day (7).

The research also noted that youngsters ages 2–5 years had the highest possible average daily intake that Red Dye 40 in ~ 0.0045 mg per pound (0.01 mg per kg) of human body weight, vice versa, adults periods 19 years and also older had actually the lowest at 0.0014 mg per pound (0.003 mg per kg) of human body weight.

Another study observed that American’s input of Red Dye 40 might be higher, with those eras 2 years and older consuming a daily average that 0.045 mg per pound (0.1 mg every kg) that body weight (8).

That same study additionally showed that American youngsters ages 2–5 years consumed a everyday average that 0.09 mg the Red Dye 40 per lb (0.2 mg per kg) of human body weight.

Compared through the ADI, these results indicate there’s a comfortable margin of safety in regards to Red Dye 40 consumption.


Health authorities have deemed Red Dye 40 for sure for civilization of every ages. The ADI for Red Dye 40 is 3.2 mg per pound (7 mg per kg) of body weight.

Consumer advocacy teams like the facility for science in the public Interest have questioned the safety and security of Red Dye 40, as its consumption is assumed to cause allergies and migraine (9).

Allergies room your body’s immune an answer to a substance that does not cause a an answer in most people.

These building materials — called allergens — may be pollen, dust mites, mold, latex, food, or components of food.

Allergens can cause symptoms, such together sneezing, face swelling, watery eyes, and skin irritation once eaten, breathed, or touched.

Allergies have additionally been connected to migraine, a form of headache defined by intense, throbbing pains (10, 11, 12).

The symptoms of an allergy may take place within minutes to hours of contact with the allergen and also last several hrs to job (13).

Allergic reactions have been report in children and adults for both synthetic and also natural food colors, but they often tend to be rare, mild, and also mainly show off the skin (14, 15, 16, 17).

Given the manufacturers use Red Dye 40 together with several other food additives, it’s challenging to recognize which ingredient — if any type of at all — is leading to symptoms that an allergy reaction.

While no test is perfect for confirming or disproving a food dye allergy, a double-blind, placebo-controlled oral food difficulty is considered the gold conventional (18, 19, 20, 21).

During this food challenge, your healthcare provider will administer you with foodstuffs in capsules, few of which are suspected to be the allergen, yet neither you nor the medical professional will understand which ones.

After girlfriend swallow one of the capsules, the medical professional observes for any kind of symptoms the an allergic reaction to recognize or rule out one allergy. You repeat this procedure until every the pills are swallowed.


Both synthetic and also natural food colors have actually been report to reason mild allergy skin reactions prefer hives.

Red Dye 40 has actually been linked to aggression and also mental disorders like attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in children.

Children through ADHD room often easily distracted, have actually trouble stop their fist on tasks, space forgetful in day-to-day activities, fidget, and have outbursts of fury at unreasonable times (22).

The FDA acknowledges that, when the existing research indicates that most youngsters don’t experience adverse behavior effects when consuming foodstuffs that save Red Dye 40, some evidence suggests that details children may be sensitive to it (2).

Indeed, a review of 34 studies approximated that 8% of children with ADHD living in the united States, united Kingdom, Australia, and also Canada might have behavioral symptoms associated to man-made food color (23).

Synthetic food colors space thought to cause behavioral symptoms in children since they may reason chemical alters in the brain, inflammation native an allergy response, and also the depletion the minerals, such together zinc, that are involved in growth and breakthrough (24).

Studies in kids with ADHD have demonstrated the restricting synthetic food water from the diet led to far-reaching improvements in symptom (23, 25, 26, 27).

However, these renovations were found mainly in youngsters with basic food sensitivities or intolerances (28).

While the limit of synthetic food dyes — including Red Dye 40 — may be an effective treatment choice for reducing behavioral symptoms in children with ADHD, much more research is vital to confirm this (29).


There’s increasing proof to indicate that artificial food dyes may worsen behaviors in children with ADHD.

As among the most widely used shade additives, Red Dye 40 is uncovered in a variety of foods and beverages, including (2):

Dairy products: flavored milk, yogurt, puddings, ice cream cream, and popsiclesSweets and also baked goods: cakes, pastries, candy, and chewing gumBeverages: soda, sporting activities drinks, power drinks, and powdered drink mixes, including some protein powders

According come studies, breakfast cereals, juice drinks, soft drinks, baked goods, and also frozen dairy desserts space the biggest contributors of artificial food water in the diet (3, 8, 30, 31).

Like other color additives, Red Dye 40 is also used in the production of cosmetics and also pharmaceuticals (4).

You have the right to identify Red Dye 40 by analysis the ingredient list. It’s likewise known as:

Red 40Red 40 LakeFD&C Red No. 40FD&C Red No. 40 Aluminum LakeAllura Red ACCI Food Red 17INS No. 129E129

While manufacturers space not required to list the amount of one ingredient used, they have to list ingredient in descending stimulate by weight.

This means that the an initial ingredient detailed contributes the many by load while the critical ingredient provided contributes the least.

Note that picking to exclude or limit your or your child’s consumption of foods items or beverages v Red Dye 40 will pose no harm, together it’s non-essential to the diet.

In fact, doing so may benefit health in various other ways, considering the foods and also beverages the contain the dye are often additionally rich in included sugars, saturation fats, and also sodium.

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Red Dye 40 walk by number of names. The biggest dietary contributors of the dye space breakfast cereals, juice drinks, soft drinks, baked goods, and frozen dairy product desserts.