Consumer watchdog groups are warning that five different brands of candy sold in Michigan may contain an ingredient that has been linked to cancer.

Banned in Cosmetics, Not Banned in Food

More than 30 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of FD&C Red No.3 from use in cosmetic products. The artificial food color is more commonly known as Red Dy No. 3 (or Red Dy 3) and its use in high doses has been found to cause cancer in animals.

But Red Dye No. 3 has not been banned from use in food products, and it's said to be used in thousands of food items including candy, drinks, and medicine.

The International Association of Color Manufacturers maintains that Red Dye No. 3 is safe at levels that humans typically consume, but data from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) concludes otherwise.

Red Dye No. 3 Poses a Greater Risk to Children

Dr. Tasha Stoiber is a senior staff scientist for the Center for CSPI. She says that while Red Dye No. 3 likely poses risks to people of all ages, children may be more vulnerable.

"Young children are the ones that are most affected because of their small body weight and because they are exposed to much more of these dyes in food," she says.

 

A Statewide Ban in California

Beginning January 1, 2027, the artificial food color will be prohibited from being sold in California in any food or candy products. Manufacturers will be forced to switch to cleaner ingredients in order to sell these products in California.

In 2023, the watchdog group submitted a petition asking the FDA to prohibit the use of Red Dye No. 3 in all other states. That petition can be found here.

Red Dye No. 3 Found in Many Products

The artificial food coloring is said to be an ingredient in hundreds of items including (but not limited to) the following candy products readily available in Michigan and across the United States:

Candy Corn

Bag of Candy Corn
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Ring Pops

Candy containing Red Dye No. 3
Amazon
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Double Bubble Original 1928 Flavor

Candy containing Red Dye No. 3
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Fruit by the Foot

Candy containing Red Dye No. 3
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Pez Candy

Candy containing Red Dye No. 3
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