Wanted: Your stories on Food Coloring

Food Coloring (Creative Commons attribution: Flickr user Matthew Bland)

Mmm… delicious, delicious ethyl [4-[ p -[ethyl ( m -sulfobenzyl) amino]-α-( o -sulfophenyl) benzylidene] – 2,5 -cyclohexadien – 1 – ylidene] ( m -sulfobenzyl) ammonium hydroxide …

I’m giving a talk in Melbourne, Australia next week on food dyes and am looking for good stories and experiences with food coloring and dyes.

What fun and interesting things have you done with food coloring? Red milk on Halloween? Green eggs and ham for St Patricks Day?

Do you have any great uses of natural food colorings? Think beet juice, blueberries, etc.

How do you feel about industrial uses of food coloring? Coloring candies? Cereal? Dying the outsides of oranges to be orange? Pumping up the coloring on sausage casings? How about feed farm-raised fish pigment so that they’re peach-colored (well, salmon colored) instead of grey? (Let’s say, hypothetically, that farm-raised fish could be done sustianably in a way that was zero-impact on the environment, but the fish came out grey. Would adding coloring agents at that point to make it acceptable be ok?)

Do you know anyone who’s had ADHD or behavioral problems that they believe are related to food coloring? Details? (The FDA has stated that there’s not proof that it’s the food coloring that causes behavioral problems… changing diet changes more than just the consumption of food dyes.)

Leave your comments below or use the contact form if you want to keep it private. Thanks!

On a personal note, my sister emailed me a good anecdote from our childhood. I don’t remember this at all and think she is making it up, but have no proof… *sigh*

As a kid I used to make cookie dough and keep it in the fridge so I could bake up a few cookies when I got home from school. Problem was I had two brothers who got home before me and ate anything good in the fridge on a daily basis, including my cookie dough stash. I needed a way to “brother proof” my cookies, and came on the idea of using food coloring to make them really unappealing. I started with a nice clear blue–really intense. They ate them. So I thought I had to make the color even less appealing: a mix of all the colors… a sort of poo-y dark greenish-brown… not the nice red-brown of chocolate or cinnamon. And success! My cookie dough was waiting for me after school. Did I mind eating these gross looking cookies… not at all. I enjoyed every bite, and with the knowledge that my brothers had been fooled.