In case you missed it, we’re completely artificial food dye free in the HAGAY household. Read the back story here. I’m linking up some of the articles I’ve come across so read them if you’re interested. I’m also eventually going to keep a link up in my right sidebar with foods I’ve found to be Dye-Free. Hopefully, it helps.


Up until we had a problem with Graham, I had never considered the source of food dyes and blindly fed them to my kids. I just assumed that the FDA wouldn’t allow something unsafe into the food supply. Right? Well, they banned artificial dyes in the UK back in 2008. Several groups in the US have urged the FDA to follow suit but so far they maintain that the dyes are safe. I also found out that dyes are made from petroleum,  crude oil which is also the source of gasoline. What.the.fuck. There’s a group called the Feingold Association who teaches parents how to eliminate artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from their kid’s diets to resolve behavioral issues. We haven’t gone that far yet, we’re starting with dyes and going from there.

Jamie and I decided to test the food dye theory by removing all traces of dye from Graham’s system. Sounds simple, no? We scoured the pantry, reading labels to determine what products had artificial dyes in them. The answer was pretty much everything the kids were eating. Not just the obvious mac-n-cheese either, things like pickles and syrup and even Eggo Waffles. Vitamins, toothpaste, Motrin. It’s amazing how everything they consumed was loaded with artificial crap. A few trips to the hippity dippity health food store and a lot of money later left us stocked with dye-free vitamins and toothpaste along with safe food options. All of the sites I read told me that it would take three days for the artificial dyes to get out of their systems so we kicked back and waited…

On the third day, they played. Graham woke up bright eyed and happy and his scowl was gone. He and Elliot played together for most of the day, something that had literally never happened here before. The kids were happy and independently playing for the first time in their lives and I was giddy with excitement. I felt like a badass for having discovered the dye problem and removing it all from their diets. Things were looking up in the land of HAGAY.

Then we had a setback. I picked Graham up from school the next day with a smile on my face. “He was better today, right?”. His grim teachers looked back and told me that no, he was still not behaving or following the rules. I was baffled, he had played so well with Elliot the day before and was so happy for that one day. There had to be an explanation. Turns out, there was. Graham and I had whipped up a batch of pancakes that morning and used Egg Beaters instead of real eggs. Egg Beaters with yellow dye in them, those motherfucking Egg Beaters. Eggs are yellow, why the fuck do they need dye to make them even MORE yellow? But there it was, our answer. The next setback came when the kids went on antibiotics. The pharmacy ASSURED me they were dye free but hell if the kids didn’t turn into monsters when they were on them. Then Graham had potato latkes at school instead of the snack I sent in for him. Methinks Egg Beaters were the culprit again but at least we knew why he was acting like such a little asshole. He was, and I can say that since he’s my kid.

The seven permitted food dyes in the US are: FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red No. 40,  FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6. I have noticed the strongest reaction from my kids when they eat red or yellow dye but all kids are different. There is also a “natural” dye called annatto that causes the same adverse effects in behavior for some kids. Namely, mine. This eliminated a lot of the remaining foods from the kid’s diets like Goldfish, French Toast Sticks, Taquitos, Hot Pockets and American Cheese. A lot of products listed as having “No artificial colors” have annatto in them so we have to read the labels very carefully. We’re basically at the point where the kids can eat cardboard and nothing else.

Enter Betty Fucking Crocker.

It’s widely known that I don’t cook. I don’t bake, grill, cook, anything. I can microwave like a mofo but anything beyond that requires great concentration from me. Having gone dye free, I’ve had to reach my inner Betty Crocker and start baking. I stay in communication with the kid’s teachers about any class parties so I can send in a separate dye-free cupcake for my poor kids. The class Christmas party came and went and I made sure my kid’s plates were dye free, even if it involved baking cupcakes and gingerbread men for both kid’s classes. I even pulled off a dye-free birthday party for Graham:

Those cupcakes were possible using an all-natural food dye I found online, Dunkin Hines all white cake and Wilton’s decorating icing. Just because my kids can’t have artificial food dyes, it doesn’t mean they should miss out on all of the fun. We’ve gone to a few birthday parties where I brought my Tupperware with a cupcake for each kid, along with a dye-free Capri Sun. Sure, people openly mock me and think I’m nuts but fuck them, my kids are happy and that’s all I care about. Yesterday, I spent $50 online buying lollipop molds so I can make the kids special treats for Valentines, St Patty’s Day, Easter, July 4th. I went a little overboard but I want to be prepared.

Dye free isn’t for everyone, I get that. It’s damn hard to make sure every single morsel of food going into my kid’s mouths is safe for them to eat. Having seen the adverse reactions first hand though, I don’t understand why people aren’t shouting from the rooftops. WHY is this shit in our food if it’s not healthy? Hopefully me blogging about it will open someone’s eyes, even if it’s just one person who gets help for their kid. Studies in the UK found a link between food dyes and ADHD. Can you imagine what that would mean for kids struggling with ADHD if the answer were as simple as a few drops of food coloring? I can, I’ve seen the changes in Graham. These days he has his normal three year old meltdowns but those I can handle. Gone are the days of him acting like Linda Blair, he’s night and day from our dye-filled past. I plan on staying dye free and spreading the word. I implore you to do the same.

Link to complete list of dye-free foods we’re using.

Some Dye Free Foods We’ve Found:
Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter
Polymer All Fruit Jelly
Cream Cheese
Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans
Nordic Naturals Vitamins
Yummy Earth Lollipops
Animal Parade Toothpaste
India Tree Natural Food Coloring
Wiltons Decorators Icing
Graham crackers
String cheese
Snyder’s of Hanover MultiGrain Cheddar Cheese Puffs
CHEETOS® Natural White Cheddar Puffs
Kraft White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
DANNON All Natural Yogurt, Plain
Taquitos (chicken only, NOT with cheese)
Tyson Baked Chicken Tenders
White American or Provolone Cheese
Orville Reddenbacker Natural White popcorn
Eggo Whole Grain Waffles
Ray’s Whole Grain Bagels
Cream Cheese

What the fuck foods with dye:

Most chicken fingers (in the breading)
Kraft Mac-n-Cheese
Most Yogurts
Waffles (Nutrigrain are safe)
Sugar cookies
Most Juices (Capri Sun and Dole are safe)
Marshamallows (the all have blue dye)
Oranges – Some are dyed orange to look more appealing for sale.
Hot cocoa – Mixes with marshmallows have dye
Taquitos With Cheese – Have Annatto coloring
Hot pockets
American cheese – Have Annatto
Parm cheese
Most salad dressings
Most crackers
Egg Beaters
Most flavored chips
Most cereals
Nutrigrain bars
Condiments (honey mustard, bbq, etc)
Motrin and Tylenol
Hand soap (some kids react to dyes on skin)

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  1. anymommy

    This is so informative. I don’t plan to try to go completely dye free, but I do love having a better understanding of what we eat. Thank you!

  2. Peggy

    Wow, just wow…good job Casey!
    I’m a little disgusted with myself that I have never paid much attention to what is actually in the food I feed my children.

  3. Jenni

    As you know, we went dye free, and artificial preservative free, at almost the same time as you. It is tough, but the first week dye free Oscar napped every single day, something he hadn’t done for months.

    We are lucky that we have so many options here in DC, particularly Trader Joe’s. Most of their stuff is artificial dye/sweetener/preservative free (though some does contain annato.) If you ever want me to fix you up and care package, you let me know, Momma. We’re in this together.

  4. brenda

    I’m a weekly HAGAY stalker and an occasional Oscarelli stalker. I LOVE both of your blogs – your writing styles, parenting, honesty… I moved to Los Angeles 11 years ago and was introduced to Trader Joes which has become my one and only grocery store. I have 2 kids (2 1/2 and 11 months) and they LOVE all natural foods. Why? That’s what I give them. Turns out, a steamed carrot is YUMMY! Cous cous is easier to cook than mac and cheese and quite delicious. We just don’t need all the extra crap our culture encourages us to ingest. Casey, I applaud your Sherlock skills. You have made such an amazing discovery – and I don’t joke when I say that Oprah needs to get a whiff of this and get you on her show. I am going to link your blog to her site – others need to do the same!

  5. Maureen@IslandRoar

    Geeze, I give you so much credit; it’s so hard to find foods without dyes. My son had a friend years ago whose mother discovered this with him. When my son was little we tried cutting out many things for a time, but found no difference; my kids don’t seem sensitive to many food additives. But so many kids are and it can make a huge difference. I hate when people poo-poo it, thinking you’re making it up or being dramatic. Your kids may become more tolerant as they get older, like kids with allergies. But they are getting a good and fair start because of all the trouble you are going to! I applaud you for spreading the word!

  6. Michele

    I am so happy to hear that you found the cause of Graham’s behavior problems. I know the torment you were going through. I felt so helpless during our email exchanges. I just couldn’t think of anything. It never occurred to me that dyes could be the problem.

  7. Cat

    I’ve heard that butchers add red dye to ground beef because people think that pink or red meat is fresh, but brown/gray is how natural beef should look.

    This is nuts!

  8. ck

    Holy shit, Casey. I think I’m going to give this a try. My older daughter isn’t quite Linda Blair, but most of the times her fits just don’t make sense. It couldn’t hurt to take dye out of their diets. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

    And, of course, being the awesome mom that you are in finding this solution.

  9. mrsbear

    I know you were worried that this would sound preachy, but I really think it has the potential to help a lot of people. My little sister was on meds for ADHD for a long time, but I wonder how much that could have been avoided with discipline and dietary changes. That’s not to say kids don’t legitimately need medication to treat different issues, but in the case of my sister it was a first resort, not a last or even second or third.

    You are quite the sleuth, my friend. I am so glad you finally found the culprit, it was rough going for a while there. And your kids are happy! That’s the best reward.

    I might actually have to dig a little myself, I wonder if the girls’ concentration issues could be resolved with some dietary tweaks. Hmmm.

  10. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    I bet a lot of people just assume kids are ADHD when simply (or actually not-so-simply) eliminating ingesting dye would do the trick. It’s amazing how many things have dye in them – your list is a real eye-opener! I might start experimenting with the Princess Nagger and see if some of her more bitchy moments are instigated by ingesting dye products. 🙂

  11. Jamie

    Holy Crap on Cracker! My brother was diagnosed ADHD when we were younger, maybe laying off the Kool-Aid would have helped instead of all the Ritalin.

    Thank you for all of the great info, I am going to watch the Man Cub like a hawk after we feed him some of these items to see if they are making a difference on his behavior.

    I have also heard that dye-free diets have helped kids with autism.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the FDA would get off of their (well paid by the companies who make this crap) asses and take care of the people of this country by banning the dye, BPA, SLS, parabens, etc?

  12. bex

    wow wow wow! this post (and the first) were AMAZING. So informative! A fellow soccer mom has her son on dye free foods. but they are also vegans and only organic, gluten free etc., etc. i didn’t know there was a health reason for it!

    you rock! you should get a big crown for mother’s day for all of your hard work: detective work, educating the public work, learning to bake work.

    you probably know this already, but you can make your own marshmallows.

    thanks for sharing!

  13. jen

    wow. wow. seriously. why is this stuff in our foods … to make it pretty? argh.
    thanks for opening my eyes to this issue. i’ve been trying to significantly reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup … but i may just start to really watch for dyes as well.
    it would be interesting to see what differences it makes.

  14. Shangrila

    I didn’t think that I could be more impressed with you than I was yesterday, but omigod! First of all, if we went dye-free, I honestly don’t think that I would’ve thought to provide dye-free treats for my kids. I actually pride myself on “going the extra mile” for my little darlings, but I’m almost positive that I would’ve just said, “I’m sorry, honey, you can’t have that!” What you are doing for them is incredible! You didn’t say-did going dye-free also resolve the sleep issues that the kids were struggling with? The what-the-fuck-food-dye list blew my m-f-ing mind! My husband and 2 of my three kids have the attention spans of puppies on speed, so I am definitely going to read the articles you’ve linked to, and as Pleakley in Lilo and Stitch would say, “Educate myself!!!”

  15. MamaBug

    Thanks for the info. I was blissfully ignorant until this morning and now I’m going to be more active in making healthy choices. Why in our fruits? If the color is added, why isn’t it required that we are told this? I’ve never heard of this. I need to be less trusting and more aware. I am going to spend my valuable mommy time (nap time) to look up some info on the dyes.

  16. Jen

    Casey awesome posts! I wouldn’t be surprised if the dyes were a big reason 2 of my cousins were on Ritalin. They drank massive amounts of Kool-aid that was loaded up with sugar (I’m talking 2 cups of sugar for 2 quarts). I know the sugar didn’t help but considering all the other junk they ate it’s no wonder those boys couldn’t stay focused for more than a second or so. I’ll definitely have to keep your post in mind when my little boy gets here. Now if I could just wean his dad off blueberry poptarts….

  17. Mrs. C.

    Yea, Casey! There are many parents who wouldn’t take the time or make the effort to find the root of the problem, much less take steps to solve it. God sure knew what He was doing when He put Graham and Elliot in your hands..

  18. Andrea

    We considered going dye free because Thor has Aspergers Syndrome but our ped said it’s crap. I wouldn’t say it’s crap (hello I had an allergic reaction to medication dye this week). I do want to try it. The hard ebiing that my kids most favorite things – cheezits, fruit snacks and goldfish – would all fall into the no-no category.

    I think once we move (and honestly once we can afford to cause health food is so not cheap) I want to try to do a lot more of fresh baked than boxed stuff. I do fine when it comes to dinners, at least for cooking, but snacks I let the kids have the dye filled junk. With your openess about it, I really think the benifits would outweight the intial pia for me.

    I hope everything continues to go well and I plan to look through the links for more info.
    Thanks 🙂

  19. Sprite's Keeper

    I admit it. I have made the statement that I didn’t think dyes had anything to do with behavior. But I DO see changes in Sprite when she’s had certain snacks and they’re not pleasant.
    I think, at least with snacking at home, I will go dye free. We’ve been going homemade more and more anyway. Especially when the ingredients are fresh, fresh eggs, flour, check for dyes in anything else, this shouldn’t be TOO difficult. I’m looking for lollipops for treats. Have you found any that the kids like?
    And you’re linked on both posts! This definitely counts for cleaning!

  20. Ginny Marie

    Thanks for posting the dye/dye free list! I didn’t know about annatto before I read your post. I did just check the parmesian Goldfish my kids are eating right now…they seem to be dye free.

  21. robin

    Putting on my writer’s cap here but have you considered pitching your story to one of the parenting mags? Either print or online? You’ve practically written it already… why not spread the word further and make a few bucks too?
    (Way to go, Momma!)

  22. Lin

    Wow. That’s crazy trying to totally eliminate that from your diet. Kudos, pally. You are officially dye’s worst enemy.

  23. Christie

    Amazing read!! My 2.5 year old just got bounced from his second pre-school. Keep in mind, he has been in an early childhood intervention program since February and has weekly assessesments and meetings with a spectrum of therapist (OT, Speech, etc.) Bottom line, he can’t control his behavior once he gets worked up about something. Like total tantrum meltdown lose his shiz. He made it 30 minutes at school (with his therapist assisting) before they offered to “refund his tuition”. That’s the kind of melt down he can have. Devastated, maybe, pissed off, absolutely, over it, you betcha! I had been doing EVERYTHING right since the last attempt at school a year ago. Brush therapy, weighted vest, a messy ass Tupperware container full of rice. Today he rocked out his therapy session like a 6 year old private school girl. Reason being, he’s been off dye for a whopping 24 hours and I’ve been giving him a 6am walk to the park boot camp for 48 hours. Is it that simple? Why doesn’t everyone have this info? I might have to rob a bank to buy a Super Bowl ad to spare other families of the wasted time and feelings of failure and making your family shut ins because you can’t take “that look” when he throws his juice across the table at the Outback.

  24. Keely

    I love your WTF the list. It’s so true. Really, granola bars? Shouldn’t they be GRANOLA COLORED? And baby carrots are not only often full of dye, but are processed with chlorine bleach. WTF, indeed.

    Doesn’t Tylenol have a dye-free option for kids? I use the Advil dye-free for X. Let me know if you want some illicit Canadian drugs shipped across the border 😉

  25. Becky

    Wow, this is really eye opening for me! I did not know this could be a problem. Thank goodness you found this answer for you guys.

    WTF crackers? Need dye? Are we all crazy?

  26. Captain Dumbass

    Hmm, there’s a lot of foods there that my youngest shit disturber eats regularly. I think I might try weening him from them and see what happens.

  27. kat

    Good that things are stabilizing…

    fresh fruit, fresh vegetables will make you into a samurai mommy slicer! oh ye, and the juices, dear lady. shlop those babies down the juicer, definitely no dye.

    im happy for you 🙂

  28. Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt

    I commend you for your efforts and raise my middle finger to those that mock you.

    I’m a tad “crunchy” and people think a lot of the things I do are weird.

    Fuck em.

  29. Mama Badger

    Ok, now you have me thinking. LG has been a little off the wall lately. I just attributed it to being two and having a new little brother. But we also just introduced some “big kid” snacks. Like fruit snacks. Loaded with dye. And M&Ms. Loaded with dye.

    Me thinks we need to try an experiment at our house and see if they’re related. Woo hoo, then we can be dairy and dye free.

  30. Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings

    I agree that it is something to keep an eye on. I notice when Jonathan has more sugar one day he’s more of a bear. I’m bookmarking this post so I can review it and see if he might be having some of the same reactions! Thanks Casey.

  31. jessica

    thank you Casey. This is great.

  32. FoN

    Wow – that’s amazing – I’m glad it’s working for you! My problem is cereal- the kids love cereal, but they won’t eat the super healthy tree-hugging shit, but even cereal you didn’t think would have dye, does. Have you found one yet that’s dye free? And that kids will actually eat?

  33. K

    I love that you’re putting the info out there.

    I know lots of people will find it helpful. I’m fairly crazy about what my son eats too and I didn’t know all those food have dyes in them.

  34. kyooty

    You are doing extremely well. love that Birthday party cupcake tower

  35. SuziCate

    I applaud your dedication to your children and their eating habits. If only other parents would take the timea nd energy to do the same. I’ve always wondered if going dye-free made a big difference in behaior. I’m glad tohave heard it from someone who really knows. Thanks for sharing your message. I intend to pass your message to others.

  36. Anjanette aka. MommaYoung

    Oh wow, that sounds so complicated, but well worth it. After reading your post I was thinking I might look into what my youngest eats (dye or not) she is growly and grouchy a lot and she is only 16 months.

    Made me laugh about the WTF foods. Your right how green does a pickle need to be.

    Thanks for taking us on this journey with you.

  37. Pseudo

    I thought anatto was a natural food dye? From the plant? My hubs is part filipino and they put it in the adobo. He told me it was from a plant so I eat it….

  38. Kendra

    I’m glad you found all this out. My toddler has some behavioral problems that come out of nowhere sometimes. I’ll have to look into some of this information! Thanks for keeping other parents informed!

  39. kys

    I’ve been meaning to e-mail you and thank you for the list you sent.

    I’m with you. Why is it ok to put this crap in our food?? Why is it even necesary for pickles to have dye in them? And marshmallows? Ridiculous.

    I’m sure you will be a gourmet cook by the time your kids are in middle school. So glad this is working for you guys.

  40. Monica

    You are so on target. Jenni is right that having stores like Trader Joe’s (and also organic markets) nearby make it easier to find foods without artificial ingredients. Sounds like you’ve found the “holy grail” which is what you should call the article you’re going to pitch to Parent’s Magazine! -Monica

  41. Laurie

    Great post! It really does matter what your kids eat!!! I’m so excited to see the dirt on dyes get aired. In response to a few of your other comments, loved the WTF list too, Walmart Great Value marshmallows don’t have dyes, and try Mom’s Best Cereals for a dye free Lucky Charms knock off. Yummy Earth lollipops and Surf Sweets sour bears are also favorites in our house. Check out my blog for more research on dyes at

  42. TheKitchenWitch

    Sent here via BadMommyMoments. What an amazing story and thank you for the list–what a great resource!

  43. Nick

    All I can say is thank you! As an adult who grew up ritalin free thanks to Dr. Feingold I thank you. Of course I also thank my Mom who much like you didn’t cook a lot until she realized I was having behavior problems. After being daignosed “almost” ADHD my Mom also went on a search for any natural way to help ease my problems. She came across Dr. Feingold and did just what you did. It took a while, but she got the hang of cooking, and believe it or not it made it so my brother and I would rather cook our own food than eat out. Years later I met and married a man who during our first date also revealed his Mother stuck him on the Feingold diet as well. We shared many laughs about being the only kids not allowed to drink kool-aid in our neighborhoods.
    Please stick to your guns. They may fight you sometimes out of jealousy for what “everyone else” has, but being happy and healthy is far greater a gift.

  44. Jane

    Thank you for bringing more attention to this issue. It has amazed me that more foods are trying to go dye-free and that more people aren’t concerned about them. It’s been in the news since the 70’s. But high fructose corn-syrup (which has only been a fairly recent “concern”) is suddenly disappearing from products and restaurants.

  45. Jane

    oops – I meant “It has amazed me that more foods AREN’T trying to go dye-free” Sorry!

  46. Gibby

    Came here from Bad Mommy Moments as well, and what an eye opener! Thanks so much for posting this, I’m definitely going to look into it. Question: what about things like paprika extract and tumeric extract for color? Is that considered dye? The reason I’m asking is because I just bought a giant box of Kirkland Mac and Cheese from Costco and this is what is listed in the ingredients.

  47. Sarah

    I found your blog today after a Google search about going dye free led me to Bad Mommy Moments. I have a 2-1/2 year girl that brought me to tears last night with her constant screaming, running, bullying and defiance. I also have sweet-tempered 10 month old boy who, like your daughter, often bears the brunt of this. Granted, she’s been “spirited” since the day she was born but now she is like the Tasmanian devil. She. Does. Not. Stop. Luckily she is a good sleeper at night but I just think that’s because she’s reloading.

    Both babies attend a lovely home daycare and our provider is on board to help me in this little endeavor.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and providing all this useful information.

  48. Veronica

    We had the same issue with our daughter. She was insane and difficult to live with. Somehow, saying that she was horribly behaved doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she was like.

    Unlike you little boy though, Amy’s issue is gluten. It turns her into a raving lunatic and makes her so sick and so horrible. We’re completely gluten free now and preliminary testing has shown Coeliacs.

    She still reacts badly to some things that are GF (chupa chup lollypops are one) so I also suspect a small dye/preservative issue to go along with the gluten.

    It doesn’t matter though. I’m just happy to have my sweet happy 3yo back.

  49. faemom

    Wow. I mean, wow. Thanks for posting this. I’m sorry you had to deal with a holy terror of a child for a while, and I’m so impressed you hunted down the real reason for the issue and not let any one tell you it was in your head. Heck, I’m impressed you can be so strong over making sure your kids don’t get that junk. It’s a total shame that more people aren’t aware of this issue and that they aren’t trying to correct it. Thanks for sharing!

  50. Walter

    Oh my, I’m totally ignorant about the bad effects of DYE. I’m very thankful for this post because I have learned something important. I have a one year old child. Though I’m judicious about what he should eat, I don’t know about what foods that contains dye. I will discuss this with my wife and research more on this. 🙂

  51. Karen @ If I Could Escape

    Scary isn’t it? I loved being back in teh UK over this summer … food packaging, ingredients etc just was all so much more informative and healthier.

    Great post!!

  52. Zip n Tizzy

    Yay Casey!
    You know how I feel about this already, but I’m really happy for you guys. Just equally disgusted that it’s gotten to the point that the foods that are marketed to our kids are the worst foods out there. And no, we can’t trust that they’re safe. They’re profitable and they don’t kill them, so they’re “safe enough.”
    It’s only been a couple of generations since we’ve been eating this way, and we’re seeing such a rise in childhood illnesses and disorders, but, it’s still a mystery to most people what they eat, and why not? We have to become experts to understand what any of the labels mean!
    Good job getting the word out!

  53. Beth

    Well done, Casey! I have found a great resource for me is a local farmers market (for AZ people: for details) that also has artisan bakers using natural/sometimes gluten-free products. This way, I don’t have to do the baking! My kids (20+) love it, too!

  54. CDB

    OMG, no wonder you haven’t posted since Jan. 7th!! HOly cow, this is a lot of info, and sounds like has completely consumed life there. Thanks for sharing this, really good information to have. Most yogurts, seriously?? Even Stoneyfield?

    I was happily coming over to tell you that, after finally having #2 boy, I’m a HUGE, WILLING, HUGE participant of HASAY now!!!

  55. Molly

    Great post! Yeah.. I’ve never understood why they feel the need to dye things anyway… besides the fact that adding anything to food that doesn’t actually add quality to the food seems ridiculous to me, just from a laundry perspective, the less dye in their food to stain their clothes the better. (I LOVE capri sun…) Also, Wilton’s decorator icing may be dye free… but it also tastes like something you’d find in your medicine cabinet instead of your pantry which seems to indicate to me that there must be some pretty freaky ingredients in it. Next time try making your own buttercream… it’s super simple (softened butter, pwd sugar and a tiny bit of milk in a mixer or food processor) and it tastes and smells like HEAVEN.

  56. Janet

    Way to go, sister! Thank you for this and for fighting the good fight!

  57. sarae

    My girls are 3 and almost 7 and both allergic to food dye. Red #40 is by far the worst but I do notice the effect with all dyes. They’re old enough now that they ask “does it have food dye in it?” whenever anyone offers them food. I think it helps the little one that her big sister is so careful about it, she’s a good role model. I had a conversation with them about it recently and the 7 year old said “I do mind missing out on treats sometimes but I really don’t like how it makes me feel out of control.”
    We live in hippieland (Santa Cruz, CA) so it’s easy to find dye free alternatives and most of our friends are aware and sensitive about it. TJs is awesome for dye free stuff too.

  58. Gina

    I feel your pain! I too, have a son who is extremely sensitive to food dyes. You pretty much described our situation. About five years ago someone suggested we try cutting the food dyes out, and the results were amazing. It’s very upsetting, though, when my son accidently ingests food dye at school or at a party. There’s nothing you can do but endure the meltdowns, the violence, and the zombie face. Even his pupils dilate and his heart beats faster, like a frightened animal fighting for its life. And yes, it can last for days! I am optimistic, however, with the recent UK ban on food dyes. I am hoping the US will wise up and follow suit. I’m doing my best to spread the word to friends and family. I am writing to companies, magazines, legislators, etc. and asking them to do their part. I’m hopeful that schools might ban food dyes, especially with Jamie Oliver’s “food revolution.” There is also lots of good information on the web.

  59. Gina

    Recently, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged and petitioned the FDA to ban food dyes in the US, as they are doing in UK.

    You can help by reporting your child’s food dye sensitivity…

  60. Heidi Kelly

    Wow Casey! You have been through the ringer! Luke is definitely more moody that Sam ever was and he battles horrible eczema. After the post I made the other day on the funny oranges, I have been stepping it up on eliminating the dyes. I was really shocked to look on the label of a jar of pickles I have and see yellow 5 and Blue 1!

    I have a jar of Nathan’s Pickles and the only thing I see is Turmeric, can Graham tolerate that?

    I have a (gluten-free) recipe for goldfish crackers on my site and you could use white cheddar cheese (assuming you are up for making them… they suck to make if one is anal like me about making them “look right” or they could be easy if you just use a larger cookie cutter).

    I just made my own processed cheese (like the slices) last week. I realize I am off my rocker but it was so easy. Can Graham have gelatin?

    Are you all gluten-free too?

  61. Mary Mary

    Dyes haven’t been an issue with my kids…it’s my HUSBAND who is dye-free around here. Yellow #5 is one of the main culprits for him…he gets hideous migraines.

    The list of stuff that cause problems for him: MSG (monosodium glutamate), yellow #5 (and he’s sensitive enough that he can tell the difference between an MSG headache and a yellow #5 headache), vanillin (artificial vanilla), pop in cans (we suspect something in the lining of the cans), we think red #5…and leftovers (we suspect a mold sensitivity there.) Probably a few other things I’m not remembering just now.

    Whenever someone declares that ‘sugar’ makes their kids crazy I always point out that it’s more likely to be the DYES that usually go hand in hand with the sugar…not the sugar itself.

    And I completely agree with the WTF list of things that have dyes in them. I look at the dyes in some stuff and think, “Seriously?”

    Of course now I’m off to check the ingredients on the parmesan cheese we buy…

  62. darci richelle


  63. Jessica

    Thank you….I am so thankful to find some more products to feed my son. We are trying to do the natural products, dye free with more protein. We want him to succeed without medication. Thank you….you have helped open my eyes…it will change soon

  64. Eileen

    THANK YOU… we noticed that the pod people had come and swapped our delightful son for a loud monster child back in August, it was only recently we started making the linka nd realized August was when we started potty training and offering, M&Ms, jelly beans, and Lollipops as potty rewards. We are moving to stickers and stamps and after the research I’ve done today I will be scouring the pantry when I get home. I also just foudn that Wonka Sluggles Gummies are gummy snacks without dyes.

  65. Cleta Kramer

    My son is 4 has pdd/nos he is glutin and casien free one year presently looking into dye and preservative free free also had a dan style doctor but not a good one he mentioned nothing about dyes or other toxins my sons lead levels were off the charts read a new book healing the new childhood epidemics autism adhd asthma and allergies need more information about diets and pos dan doc in area or close moundsville wv thanks miah’s mommy

  66. Kari

    I know you mentioned annato being a problem for your kids but I think it is a much safer, it’s a naturally occurring dye, than the artificial ones. I’m heading for eliminating man made ones first, so things like Goldfish would be OK, unless I find that Annato is a problem for us specifically. I think that’s a logical starting point for many.

  67. Donna

    Goldfish is a problem for my son but Annato isn’t so I think it is something else in the goldfish. So it may not be the Annato that is a problem. Can they eat cheese with annato?

  68. Kim

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! I can totally relate. My sweet darling little girl also turns into an insane maniac at times. After Halloween last year, I too noticed the link between artificial dyes and her behavior. We have since removed it from her diet (as well as my entire household). It is amazing how much of our food has this junk in it. I read every label and still miss things… Just bought white icing for her birthday, not even thinking that I needed to read the label. But when I got home I looked and saw: yellow and red dye. REALLY??? WHY? It’s white! So frustrated with American companies. Starting to buy items overseas. Thanks so much for the laugh!

  69. vicki bunch

    my son is on dye free diet for migraines.i have the feingold diet book and its not been easy but i have took one step at a time.and it has helped his migraines.thanks for you help.

  70. Tiffany

    We have this same issues in our family with our kids. I, myself, am very sensitive to anything artificial or chemical so they probably got it from me. I’ve discovered this on my own thru the years from noticing their behavior and then what they ate. Removing everything like you said. It is a sure thing, for sure. I’d love to pass on your info and will to SOME people, however the bad language in your article keeps me from forwarding it widespread to most.

  71. Donna

    Duncan Hines Cake Mix Dark Chocolate Fudge is Feingold Approved if you need more ideas for baking. My son is 16 and we have been doing FG since he was 4.

  72. Whitney

    Having spent hours in the grocery store this past week, trying to figure out what we CAN eat (which doesn’t seem like much), I love this! Thanks – most informative post I’ve seen so far.

  73. Lydia

    How do you feel about “caramel color”?

  74. Micheelle

    Add APPLES to your WTF list.
    They add red dye to the wax to make them pretty!
    Organic fruits is the way to go.
    We have been RED dye free for about 3 years and the change is remarkable. We are considering going all dye free and I see changes coming back that we had eliminated with the RED dye. Antibiotics are the worse- what do you do- let the kid be sick? of course not- you just go crazy. My son is 10 now and reads the labels for me before even asking if he can have a treat. He hates how he feels when he has any by accident. He will come home and say “Mom, I think I got some red dye, I feel really jumpy and irritable”. AT least he can help now police the grocery store.

  75. sue

    I just came across your it. My son has a severe reaction to food dyes. He loves marshmallows and I found that the Shoprite brand has no dyes. I really don’t understand why white marshmallows need blue food coloring. Anyway, he has no reaction to these. Thought you might want to see if its ok for your house.

    Good luck!

  76. Gail

    I’ve been really sick for the past ten years. Nausea, cramps, violent vomiting, about every 3 to 6 weeks. Spent tens of thousands of dollars on tests and procedures. Prior to these ten years I was a long distance hiker, in good health.

    About 6 months ago I was googling for the contents of the Costco Food Court hot-dog (after I spent 6 hours howling in pain on the floor throwing it up) and came across the word annatto. Curiously, about ten years ago the food industry slowly began using annatto and now it’s in just about everything. Used to make hamburger buns golden, it’s in vanilla ice-cream, popcorn, pizza, store bought ready-roasted chicken, it can sneak into things you would never imagine.

    I try to avoid anything red, orange, or yellow, but you’d be amazed where it can turn up, which means that invariably (and unfairly) I am still exposed to it and getting horribly (and unfairly) sick. Last week we ate Pan de Muertos and drank hot chocolate with my in-laws. Hubby carefully checked the label of La Abuelita chocolate used to make the hot chocolate, no annatto there thankfully. We never thought that the Pan de Muertos (bought at either Walmart or Costco, not sure) would have annatto, but apparently it did because I was up all night sick. I guess that nice golden crust on top of the pan was not from the oven but from annatto.

    This crap is everywhere and it’s doing a really good job of ruining my life. It takes a good ten days for me to recover from the violent vomiting, cramps, exhaustion and weight loss. I’ve vomited so hard that it breaks blood vessels in my eyes. About 50% of the time I have to go to the ER for IV hydration.

    Annatto is poison for so many people. It comes from the Achiote shrub found throughout the tropics. It is used as a flavoring agent in a lot in Mexican, Indian, and Thai food, well before it ever went mainstream. They sell the achiote in paste block form in nearly all Mexican grocery stores. It’s used in a lot of soups like tortilla soup (also called Sopa Tarasca depending on where you live). It’s in Subway and McDonald’s chocolate chip cookies. It’s in the prepared (cold type) cookie dough you buy at the grocery store and it’s in cookie dough mixes. It’s in Fritos, tortilla chips, caramel popcorn and cheese flavored popcorn.

    The US food industry is in love with annatto and are using it in just about everything. Because it’s a natural dye, it needs no FDA approval, and because it’s natural, all the food label is required to say is “natural flavor” or “natural color” which means that quite often you have no way of knowing if it’s in what you are about to eat or not. So beware because it’s in almost all organic packaged foods–including Amy’s meals. It’s in organic butter, cheese, etc. It’s very hard to find any cheese, organic or not, without annatto. I swear if the food industry could find a way to inject it into the yolks of eggs, they’d do it.

    You could go for years from doctor to doctor (like I did) and they’ll just throw up their hands in frustration and say you’ve got IBS, when actually it’s the annatto that’s been slowly killing you all this time.

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