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Artificial food coloring, especially Red Dye #40, isn’t limited to just candies and vibrantly tinted beverages. Derived from petroleum, this dye adds or modifies the appearance of many products, some of which are seemingly natural. Let’s delve into seven unexpected foods containing Red Dye #40.

Breakfast Cereals

Even if they aren’t rainbow-colored, certain cereals may be tinged with Red Dye #40. It’s essential to peruse the ingredient list carefully, as even ‘natural’ looking cereals might contain this dye.

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Salad Dressings

Some fruit-flavored vinaigrettes or rosily tinted dressings might surprise you with their Red Dye #40 content, enhancing their color for a more appealing look.

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Sesame Ginger



Not all yogurts achieve their color from natural fruit. Some might use Red Dye #40, including certain ‘vanilla’ or ‘plain’ variants aiming for a consistent appearance.


Bright, almost neon-green pickles might be so vibrant due to Red Dye #40. Some brands employ this dye to achieve a particular visual aesthetic.

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Canned Fruit

Some canned fruits, especially those in light syrups or mixed fruit cocktails, contain Red Dye #40. It ensures the fruits retain an appealing hue even after long shelf durations.

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Smoked Salmon

One wouldn’t typically associate fish with food coloring. However, some smoked salmon products may contain Red Dye #40 to give them a more enhanced, rich pinkish hue, making the fish look fresher and more appealing.


While many believe applesauce is purely crushed apples, certain brands might add Red Dye #40 to improve its color, especially if the natural color isn’t vibrant enough due to the apple varieties used.

For a better alternative, click here or here.

The widespread use of Red Dye #40 in diverse foods underscores the importance of diligent label reading. If you’re wary of synthetic dyes, consider exploring natural and organic alternatives free from artificial coloring. With informed choices and awareness of hidden additives, you can better navigate your food intake.