What Vegans Should Know About Food Dye

When it comes to special diets, like veganism, it's important to be cautious and examine the ingredients in your food closely. According to a piece by The Spruce Eats, some food products are deceptive in the sense that it's not easy to figure out they have ingredients that don't quite fit the diet such as gelatin, which is often used in candies and should be avoided on account of the fact that it is made from animal collagen.

Another sneaky food item to look out for? Whey, which is often found in products like bread and protein powders. This is derived from milk and isn't suitable for you if you're a vegan. And of course, food coloring is another ingredient that vegans believe may or may not be suitable for their dietary preferences. Here's what you need to know about food dye if you follow a strict vegan diet and want to be extra careful about the food you eat.

It is slightly complicated

According to Veg Faqs, as far as natural food coloring is concerned, things are simpler because it generally comes from plants. However, the most prominent type of food coloring is artificial and this is where the problem begins. Many artificial dyes are basically prepared in labs and here's the catch: they're often tested on animals like dogs and mice. Scientists look at the tests in order to determine whether the ingredients safe for consumption. 

There are different kinds of artificial food dyes, such as Red 40 and Blue 2, and some are more prominent than others. Most of them are technically not vegan on account of the fact that they're all associated with animal testing in some way. Your best bet is to stay away from food items that have artificial dye if you feel strongly against animal testing. This is definitely a personal decision.

A Reddit user reflected on the fact that food dye is not strictly vegan and that this was surprising news for them. They wrote, "To my knowledge, I just thought this was a chemical. So I did a little googling. Turns out Yellow-5 and other various coloring agents like that are in fact tested on animals." Sigh.