(Here’s a guest post from reader and small business owner, Leah. Using this kit is a great way to vote with your dollars for safer products, reduce exposures to harmful food dyes, and to support a small mom owned business.)
A friend recently asked why one would need to buy natural egg dyes. After all, she said, you don’t eat the Easter eggs do you? My answer was two-part. First, yes, our Easter tradition is to eat the hard-boiled eggs after they’ve all been discovered. When you peel the shell the egg inside is also tinted. And two, I said it’s good to remember that we vote with our purchases, too.
Consider modern red food dye. Sure we’ve made some progress since we’re not using red lead and vermillion (a mercury ore) to color cheese and confections like people did in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century the FDA approved and later banned numerous red food colors including FD&C Red #2, #4, and #32. Now #40 is the hot number. Originally made from coal tar, now Red #40 is made from petroleum. The European Union officially warns against consumption of this dye by children, and several European nations have banned it. Extensive studies show correlations to hyperactivity and symptoms such as ADHD. Yet it is the most prevalent FDA-approved food dye in the United States.
The other ultra-high production, FDA-approved red food dye is “natural” carmine. Used in lipstick, literally tons of food, and some natural egg dyes, carmine is the blood of the female cochineal bug. These bugs are farmed and crushed on an unbelievably massive scale. Almost 100,000 of these insects must be killed to yield about 35 ounces of carmine. Obviously it is not vegetarian or kosher, let alone ecologically responsible.
With the purchase of a natural egg dye kit from Natural Earth Paint, you support the production of beets, purple carrots, spinach, blueberries, and turmeric instead of the production of petroleum products or the cochineal bug. You’re also supporting recycled paper content even though it continues to be a more expensive option for packaging. Finally, you support a small, family business instead of a multi-national petrochemical corporation.
And Non-Toxic Kids readers get 20% off (with coupon code 20off) an egg dye kit from Natural Earth Paint!