Connect with us


Peeps Candy Urged to Remove Cancer-Causing Ingredient



Consumer Reports, a well-known advocacy and research nonprofit, is calling on Just Born Quality Confections, the maker of Peeps candies, to discontinue the use of Red Dye 3 in its products. Red Dye 3, also known as FD&C Red No. 3 or erythrosine, is a color additive that has been linked to health concerns, including potential cancer risks in animals and negative impacts on children’s behavioral health.

According to a news release by Consumer Reports on Monday, the organization sent a letter to Just Born earlier this year urging the candy manufacturer to remove Red Dye 3 from its products, but has not received a response. As a result, Consumer Reports has initiated a petition to raise awareness about the issue and gather support.

Red Dye 3 is a widely used color additive in the United States, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a “certified color” for food and ingested drugs. It is commonly found in thousands of food products, including many processed foods such as snack cakes, imitation bacon bits, decorated cookies, and candies, particularly seasonal candies like Peeps. The vibrant colors created by Red Dye 3 are often used by brands to make their products visually appealing.

However, concerns have been raised about the safety of Red Dye 3. Previous research has found that high doses of Red Dye 3 can cause cancer in animals, leading to calls for its removal from food and other products. The FDA banned the use of Red Dye 3 in cosmetics and externally applied drugs in 1990, citing carcinogenic responses in rats. While there is not yet sufficient research linking Red Dye 3 to cancer in humans, the findings have raised concerns among health advocates.

In addition to cancer risks, studies have also found links between Red Dye 3 and negative impacts on children’s behavioral health. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment released a report in 2021 that highlighted the potential for synthetic food dyes, including Red Dye 3, to result in hyperactivity and other neurobehavioral problems in some children. The report also questioned the current federal levels for safe intake of synthetic food dyes in relation to protecting children’s behavioral health.

Consumer Reports specifically cited these health concerns in its petition to Just Born, urging the company to discontinue the use of Red Dye 3 in its Peeps candies.


Peeps products that currently contain Red Dye 3, according to Consumer Reports:

  • Pink Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies
  • Lavender Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies
  • Hot Tamales
  • Hot Tamales Marshmallow Chicks
  • Party Cake Peeps
  • Peeps Fruit Punch Marshmallow Chicks
  • Peeps Wildberry Marshmallow Bunnies.

In response to the petition, Just Born stated that it manufactures all of its candy in compliance with FDA regulations, which currently approve the use of FD&C Red No. 3 as a colorant for food, including candy. The company also claims to provide consumers with information on its packaging and websites to help them make informed choices about its products. Just Born further stated that it is continually exploring options to provide expanded alternatives, including natural sources of color that can achieve the same visual impact and stability as certified counterparts.

Consumer Reports, however, maintains that Just Born should stop using Red Dye 3 in its iconic marshmallow treats, citing the availability of less risky alternatives. Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist for Consumer Reports, stated, “Just Born Quality Confections should stop making its iconic marshmallow treats with this dangerous food chemical since other less risky

Bottom Line

As we can see, recent reports regarding Red Dye 3 in Peeps products have raised concerns among some consumers, particularly those who prioritize natural ingredients and food safety. While the FDA has determined that Red Dye 3 is safe for consumption in small amounts, some may prefer to avoid it due to potential health risks associated with synthetic food dyes. It’s important to be vigilant about the ingredients in our food and make informed choices for ourselves and our families.

We encourage our readers to share their thoughts on this issue in the comments section below and participate in our poll:

Are you concerned about the potential health risks associated with synthetic food dyes like Red Dye 3 in Peeps products?

Source: USA Today