Article about food safety from around the world and in our own back yard.

Is Food Dye Safe?

Is Food Dye Safe?

One of the most controversial hot buttons in the food industry: “Is food dye safe?”

The use of food dye has been documented in reports dating back to the mid-1800s. The use of artificial food dyes is reported to have increased by 500% in the last 50 years, according to Healthline.

Children are the largest consumers of food dyes, due to the extensive use in soft drinks, candies, snacks, ice cream, and baked goods—all of which happen to be childhood favourites.

Food dye is available in both artificial or natural forms:

  • Natural food dye is safe to eat and is derived from plants, and sometimes even insects.
  • Artificial food dye is made from petroleum products. It is cheap to mass produce, and many colours can be made, unlike in natural food colouring, where you are limited to the colours available in nature.

So, to answer the controversial question, “Is Food Dye Safe?”, we must answer a few other common questions:

  • Is Food Colouring Bad for Your Health?A lot of research has been done to answer the perennial question,“Is food dye safe?”Natural food dye is safe and can be used repeatedly; there is no controversy there. The problem arises with artificial food colouring. Although the FDA and EFSA have both concluded that dyes do not pose significant health risk, some people are of a different school of thought.

Studies have been conducted to identify if food dyes are safe—and, more specifically, whether they can cause cancer. The research done has not yet provided conclusive evidence that food dyes can cause cancer in humans; Red 3 is the only food dye that was shown to increase thyroid tumours in rats.

Further research on Erythrosine (component in Red3) later concluded that it doesn’t cause cancer, but Red 3 is still not extensively used. Some dyes have been shown to contain cancer causing contaminants or carcinogens, but in very small quantities that are considered safe

There are only six food dyes that are approved by both the FDA and EFSA. Some food dyes are approved in some countries and banned in others, causing a lot of controversy on whether or not they are safe.

However, part of the answer to “Is food dye safe?” is that consuming a lot of artificial food dye containing contaminants can cause health risks; some artificial food dyes have been shown to cause allergic reactions.

  • Is Food Colouring Safe to Drink?When taken in safe doses, food colouring is safe to drink. It is used in many soft drinks, juices, and sport drinks.
  • Does Red Dye Affect Children’s Behaviour?The first claim that food dyes cause behavioural changes in children was made in 1973 by a paediatrician. His claim was that food dyes and preservatives cause hyperactivity and learning problems in children. Many studies have been done to validate these claims. An analysis of 15 of these studies done in 2004 concluded that food dyes can cause hyperactivity in children. However, not all children react the same way.

So…is food dye safe? The bottom line is that food dyes are safe for most people, and with the regulatory bodies conducting ongoing tests and continuously studying the different dyes, they remain safe for use.

 

The Future of GMO

The Future of GMO

Fishing for Better Genetics

It has been some time since genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) became commercialized around the world. Amongst the most common changes that the world has seen up to now was herbicide and insect resistance of plants. For example, Canadian consumers will soon get access to a genetically modified salmon that can grow to market size in half the time as regular salmon. It also requires less feed.

As one can see from this and the approval thereof by regulatory authorities, genetically modified crops and other GMO food can potentially reduce the input costs of the food industry significantly.

The Future of GMO Food

There are many developments in the area of genetically modified food that the world can expect to be realized in the future. This includes things such as pigs that are resistant to disease, dairy cows without horns, and chickens that are resistant to bird flu. Sheep are also expected to become more productive in terms of wool and mutton production.

All of this sounds interesting, but food producers should not hold their breath as these developments may take years to become a reality – if they ever do. The developments that already saw the light of day, however, are playing an integral part in the production of biotech crops.

Resistance of Pests

Resistance to herbicides and insects is a past development that will continue to be improved and expanded, especially since some organisms of weed are becoming resistant to non-selective systemic herbicides like glyphosate.

The prioritization will, in future, also start to shift from new technologies to improved management practices. This is because, as more insect-resistant crops are being planted, insects themselves are becoming more resistant to developments in technology. Since this battle between pests and technology can’t continue forever, crop management will start to see its own improvements and developments, like planting crops that are not genetically modified next to GM crops.

The Future of GMO

Obstacles for GMO’s

In the future, the GMO food industry may be facing much more challenges than resistant insects and weeds. Regulatory authorities don’t take these practices lightly and getting them approved can be a headache to role players in the GMO industry.

The introduction of new genes into animals is also an issue that requires consumer acceptance. This means that certain developments in the future of GMO food will not only be limited by technological limitations, but also by social ones.

Changes in Technology

Technologies like genome-editing tools are constantly being improved and it allows for the introduction of new genes into organisms. Not only do these developments allow for more affordable and quicker genetic modification, but it also makes it possible for more and smaller role players to take part in genome editing and genetic modification of organisms.

Conclusion

Predicting GMO’s of the future is not that easy. There are many different factors at play which include the management of risks and the approval of the international community. Government regulations are also a barrier that can inhibit GMO developments. In the long-haul, chances are that GMO foods will bring about significant changes in food production.