Food coloring is an artificial food dye used to make colors seem more natural and vibrant in the foods we consume. It's ironic considering it is anything but natural. Food coloring is made from PETROLEUM and has been approved by the FDA to be used within processed food products.

candy, chocolate, egg
Christin Urso

Most processors use food coloring to influence the purchase of their buyers. We, as consumers, associate certain colors with certain flavors, and producers use that to their advantage.

Candies with bright colors become more appealing as do the dark undertones or light pinks of certain wines. Some examples of this are ketchup or the cherries at the bottom of your Shirley temple glass.

beer, coffee, wine, tea
Alex Frank

Food coloring is also used to trick buyers' perceptions. Using the colors masks the real shade of the item which would otherwise show damage lost from exposure to light or moist conditions the food may have been kept in.

Of course, this does not mean the food was kept in unsanitary conditions but, it sparks the question: what is our food really supposed to look like?

sweet, corn, cereal, cornflakes, candy, milk, goody
Kristine Mahan

Food used to be colored by wines and spices, but at the turn of the industrial revolution, we advanced to using metals, red lead, copper, and other atrocities. Clearly, this is not safe and producers began fooling purchasers.

For instance, watered-down products were infused with more color to appear as if the buyer was receiving the full untampered with product. However, as this exposure caused deaths, the 20th century brought a... safer process to coloring foods.

Ashley Anglisano

The FDA created certified colors that are synthetically produced, cheaper, and come with no flavor additives. There are between seven to nine approved colors, two with limitations on what they are permitted to color (certain orange shades are only allowed on oranges or hot dogs). 

mustard, ketchup, sausage, hot dog, bun, sandwich, bread, beef, meat
Tara Bitran

If you look on the back of a container of food coloring the ingredients include:

 "Water, propylene Glycol, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C red 40, FD&C Blue 1, FD&C red 3, and 0.1% Propylparaben (preservative)" 

This is what we use to dye our Easter eggs. Doesn't it sound delicious?

Madison Mounty

Though I do not believe you will contract any direct health risks from the consumption of food dye, I do not recommend consumption in mass quantities or purposely if possible.

The saying "you are what you eat" does hold truth to it, so it is concerning to consider the amount of petroleum we may be consuming in our lifetimes/what effects it could have on us down the road.

(All information received from Wikipedia and from physical food dye containers.)

Keep this in mind your next Easter egg hunt!