Is Red 40 Vegan? Why You Should Avoid It

by Simon
Red 40 Vegan

Is Red 40 Vegan? Why vegans should avoid it. Let’s find out why you should avoid this ingredient altogether.

If you buy a lot of candy, chances are you come across Red 40, or you buy a lot of sports drinks or other artificially colored products. Red 40 is an artificial coloring that is often used in food.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red 40 is a food coloring that is generally used in America. Even though this product is approved by the FDA, Red 40 is not something that should be taken and there are many alternatives on the market that can be used.

Thanks to its bright red color, many people mistake it for Carmine (Cochineal), which is an artificial dye made from crushed insects.

So, is Red 40 Vegan?

Indeed, Red 40 does not come from animals as most people think. Red 40 is vegan, it is made from petroleum byproducts or from coal tar.

Red 40 continues to be tested on animals regularly and will continue as is the case with other artificial coloring substances. The goal is to find out how it impacts humans.

A vegan, he personally would definitely stay away from all forms of artificial coloring, and of course Red 40 is no different, it’s not cruelty-free.

So is red 40 vegan? To confirm this answer, below we will see how or what Red 40 is made of.

What is Red 40 Made From?

The original name of Red 40 is Allura Red AC, this is a red azo dye. Then, what we should pay attention to is that Red 40 is also under code number E, namely: E129.

The ingredients used to make Red 40 do not naturally occur in our environment. Now there are two ways to produce Red 40. Initially, these artificial coloring substances were made from coal, and now most of them involve petroleum in the manufacturing process.

A byproduct of petroleum production and then used as a coloring in our food. Huh, how does that sound, this is definitely very unusual isn’t it!

Well, apart from using coal or petroleum, these artificial dyes also contain chemicals which are of course dangerous for human and animal health. Starting to get scary isn’t it!

Why was Red 40 made?

Why was Red 40 made

Initially, the aim of making Red 40 was to color red foods such as Cochineal. The goal is to streamline production and offset manufacturing costs. This dye was then used widely and replaced the use of amaranth (Red 2), almost even replacing erythrosine (Red 3), both types of dye being even more dangerous than Red 40.

Consider Red 40 the lesser of Two Evils

As mentioned above, Carmine or cochineal is the result of extraction from insects and because of this, foods that use carmine are not vegan friendly.

But unfortunately, as we will review, using Red 40 is also not a cruelty-free dye and is certainly not a good vegan alternative.

Red 40 Vegan But Not Cruelty-Free

Ok, so far, we see that Red 40 is not a reliable vegan product. So, what, is Red 40 vegan?

According to our analysis, even though Red 40 is not derived from animals like Carmine, Red 40 cannot be considered a vegan-friendly product for 2 important reasons.

– Red 40 was tested on animals as recently as 2018, and testing will continue to find out how dangerous this artificial coloring is to human health.

– Red 40 has no other useful purpose other than just making food look colorful and attractive, that’s all. If this is stopped, then we no longer need to sacrifice many experimental animals for this unimportant thing.

Animal Testing Associated with Red 40

The artificial dye Red 40 was only tested recently around 2018, which is different from other artificial dyes which were tested decades ago.

For example, between 2009 and 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) re-tested food colorings and other artificial ingredients. The EU has tested at least 4 years ago.

Researchers continue to carry out additional tests to find out exactly how harmful these artificial dyes are to humans. In 2017 there was a test on cattle and in 2018 there was a test on experimental mice and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

How is the Test Carried Out?

Most tests are carried out by injecting animals with Red 40, and there are other tests that require the experimental animal to swallow large amounts of Red 40. Finally, animals that do not die due to poisoning from this test will be used again to carry out tests on their organs and intestines.

During countless experimental tests, involving many mice and other rodents, cows and dogs. Everyone suffered in vain before dying in vain. Apart from that, Red 40 has absolutely no significant benefits because its purpose is only to provide color to food and make it look attractive. In fact, this dye can easily be replaced with vegetable dye which is of course healthier.

So, why isn’t Red 40 vegan when there are no animal products? You see, this issue has become an ethical dilemma for vegans. In making this artificial dye, many animals have been sacrificed without any clear intention. In fact, if it’s just for coloring food, there are many other alternative plant-based products that are healthy to consume without having to do any rigorous research.

Check out more:
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Ultimately, whether you eat Red 40 or not is completely up to you. Every time you want to eat food that has been coated with red 40, imagine that there are so many animals dying because of the experiment and on the one hand there are many other alternatives available there such as plant-based products.

What is Red 40 Used For?

Red 40, whose original name is Allura Red AC, is used to color dull-looking food products bright and red. There are many foods covered in Red 40, ranging from cupcakes, candy to chips, breakfast cereals and sports drinks. Even in certain cases, red 40 is also used in tattoo ink.

It turns out that the artificial dye from Allura Red AC is regulated by different laws in each country, such as the US and the EU, so use in the two countries is also different.

Use Red 40 In the US

Red 40 is a substitute for Red 2 and Red 3 as well as cochineal. So of course this is a red dye that is quite widely used by Americans because it is a substitute for so many types of artificial dyes. In fact, in America there are very few red products that do not use Red 40.

Now the dye or red 40 has been approved by the FDA so its use is increasingly widespread in beauty products, medicines, and even in various foods. So, in America there are thousands of products now using Red 40 for coloring.

Use Red 40 In the EU

As the regulations in the EU are stricter, most of the EU has received approval for its use in certain food products.

Because food coloring plays a very dangerous role in human health, every product containing Red 40 must be marked clearly and with a warning that reads “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

Warnings like this exist on products in European Unions but don’t exist in America. Apart from these two countries, Red 40 has also been used in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

States That Ban Red 40 (Allura Red)

Red 40 has until now been banned in several countries such as Denmark, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the EU has now struggled to agree on whether they should completely ban the use of Aluura Red or not. However, we regret this because the ban on the use of Allura Red is not because it has sacrificed many experimental animals, but because of the negative impact of this dye on human health.

How to Spot Red 40 in Food Products

Now you may want to stay away from products with Allura red, either because you are a Vegan who does not support animal cruelty or because you are concerned about your own health. So, it is very important to be able to know these substances in food.

However, it seems that not using Red 40 is just a dream, because almost all food products now use dyes from petroleum by-products or this coal tart. In America, almost all colored products use this dye. However, what is strange is that this Red 40 product has so many names that it is difficult to identify.

It is also different from other animal products which are marked in bold letters. Red 40 is not an animal product, it is not an allergen and because of this its name is sometimes hidden among the ingredients.

Some other names for Allura red or Red 40 which are quite commonly used in food are:

  • Allura Red
  • Red Dye 40
  • Allura Red AC
  • Red 40
  • Red 40 Lake
  • Red #40
  • E129
  • C.I. 16035
  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • C.I. Food Red 17

If you buy snacks or packaged food, check the label and pay attention to the code. If you find it, then it is one of the food products that contains Red 40.

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