10 Foods Containing Red Dye 40 List


Color is the most appealing part of choosing a particular food. People have now started looking for foods by associating them with colors. They now associate red with strawberries, pink with pomegranate etc. The color of food is now a strong influencer in assuming the flavor of a food, for example, to make strawberry candy look like it actually contains strawberry, red food dye is added to a colorless strawberry flavored candy. In cases where red, pink or purple colors are needed to give color to processed foods, Red dye 40 is the most sought artificial food color.

Red 40 food dye is found in a large category of foods. The following is a list of foods with Red dye 40 extensively.

Must read: Red Dye Allergy Symptoms and Causes

Most Common Red Dye 40 Food List

Baked Foods

red dye 40 food list

Red dye 40 is found in many baked foods such as pies, cakes,cookies and also breads. In fact, the while we assume that anything with vanilla flavor should be white, Red dye 40 is used in vanilla frostings to give it a more “golden” color. Pie fillings, cakes with strawberry flavors and red colored cake mixes are a few that make the red dye 40 food list.


Probably the most common of the foods that contain red dye 40 is candy. It is no surprise that candies are the most prominent feature of the list of foods with red dye. Much of the candy that is available in the market is completely artificially made. It is actually highly processed food and though it says that it is fruit flavored, there is nothing remotely fruit like in them.

Most likely, any candy that is fruit flavored is a sure shot food containing red dye. The common culprits are strawberry, cherry or raspberry flavored candies, candies that consist of red shells, any candy that has a dark brown color like chocolate or coffee flavors and many cinnamon flavored candies as well. You’re also likely to find the colorant in candies with red shells, dark browns (chocolate or coffee flavors), and cinnamon candies

Breakfast Cereals

Nowadays the biggest consumers of the variety of breakfast cereals are children. And to make the cereal more appealing, the manufacturing companies have started coming up with colored cereals labeled as fruit flavored cereal. The colorants used in the processing of these fruity cereals are nothing but our infamous red dye 40. Cereals are slowly gaining popularity in the list of foods that contain red dye 40.


It’s surprising to see a list of foods containing red dye to include an innocuous food such as dairy. Dairy foods having red dye may not be as many as some of the food in other categories, but there still are a few dairy foods out there such as flavored yogurts, flavored ice creams and other such foods that contain red dye 40. As always fruit flavored dairy items such as strawberry, raspberry or cherry flavored foods are likely to contain red dye.

Red dye 40 may also be present in foods that are not red typically. For example red dye 40 is used along with some yellow food color to give sort of a peanut butter-golden color. Other dairy products such as flavored milk, especially strawberry, raspberry, cherry or rose flavored ones also are included in the list of foods containing red dye 40.

Flavoured yogurt

Most of the flavoured yogurt available in the market do contain artificial colouring agents. Some of the companies use fruits and vegetable juice to give colors and  flavour to  yogurt while others use red dye 40 as an colouring agent. Using such agents may disturb the immune system, especially among children.


Usage of Red dye 40 in the drinks industry is very common. Many aerated drinks which are red, orange or brown in color contain Red 40 dye. Other flavored drinks such as fruit punches, fruit like juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, and other types of soda also contain the red dye. Here again mostly the foods containing red dye are the ones which are raspberry, strawberry or cherry flavored ones, although sometimes grape and apple flavored drinks might also contain the red 40 dye. Not only unhealthy drinks but also some flavors of iced tea also contain red 40 dyes.


snacks with red dye 40

Another prominent feature on the list of foods containing Red 40 dye is processed snacks. Red 40 food color is a common addition in a multiple variety of snacks such as ready to eat cakes, chips, biscuits, biscuit fillings, etc. Also, the breakfast bars that we love to have in the mornings as an on-the-go breakfast, they contain the ever present red 40 dye in quite a significant amount.


We tend to eat a lot of tomato ketchup or tomato sauce that is freely available in the market. Many people need to have tomato ketchup or tomato sauce as a combination with many other snacks and food. Guess which color tomatoes are. Yet again we encounter a target for Red 40 food dye. Not only the Red looking tomato ketchup, even chili, tamarind, and many other sauces also use Red 40 dye as a food coloring agent.

Canned Foods

ice cream with red dye 40

Red 40 is added to a large number or canned foods especially canned beans, canned cherries, canned strawberries and many such canned foods. This is mainly done to prevent signs of aging in the foods by using red dye. When stored for a longer time, canned foods tend to brown a little, so to keep up appearances of freshness; Red food dye is added to the canned food.


Not only foods but also medication and drugs also use Red 40 dye as a coloring agent.

If you’re thinking what the role of food dyes in medicines is, there is actually no reason. The color Red is a very bright and attractive color. This makes it easier to identify when dispensing medicines. Also, when advertising the product, giving it red, pink, orange or such similar bright colors make it easily recognizable and appealing.

The next time you go grocery shopping; do read the labels for sneaky signs of red dye 40 food list.

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Also read home remedies for dust mite allergy symptoms.


  1. Please send me a list of foods to avoid. Our 10 year old son fits this red 40 dye allergy to a T. Also send me a list of fooda he can eat without the dye in it. Thanks

    • Did you ever get a list? I really think my 2 year old is allergic as well. But his doctor won’t get him tested until he’s 3.

    • Wow didn’t realize alot of things my son eats and drinks is on here it all makes since now. I really need a list as well

  2. Please help. I just ate red pepper flakes and developed a case of restless leg syndrome…to which I am .prone. I wonder if they could have red dye?

  3. I have red dye #40 allergy. I had reaction to the pink Benedry, I can take the clear w no problem. Also a brand of progesterone has the dye. Also cannot drink sparkling water red raspberry or take vitamin gummy vitamins. This goes along with what this article says. I had no idea how often this dye is used.

  4. Common mistake is also what the food colouring is actually made from. I bought a Starbucks red velvet cake ( all natural ingredients) was ill. Checked and the cochineal beetle is where the actual dye comes from (before processed). So check for that too as my reaction was more severe with the real thing!

  5. I am the head cook at a small school K-12. This year we have 2 young students with red dye allergies and I’m needing your help! It seems the foods we order through our distributor contains a lot of red dyes or undefined food coloring, if I could get a list of foods to avoid or a list of foods I could use would be very helpful. Thank you ! Debra Matlack , USD369 Burrton

  6. A food list to avoid artificial coloring, artificial flavoring and preservatives is available from the Feingold Association. Gives specific brands to purchase.

    It also has a section which eliminates salicylates/phenols which are natural in some fruits but can cause reactions for some people. My son had reacted to strawberries without dyes, and the allergy test came back negative. That type of reaction isn’t a true allergy involving immunoglobulins, but a chemical sensitivity, so skin testing won’t indicate it. Some kids have dramatically improved behavior, and elimination of allergic type reactions. Adults symptoms may include headaches, etc.

    The list is excellent, and we have relied on it for years. Cost for the first year is $69 because it includes membership. Renewal is $30. All ingredients are certified by the individual companies. You can completely avoid hidden coloring, even in milk.




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