Red hots, which I have been eating gobs of since youth, have this dye as one of their ingredients.
The Whole Foods unacceptable ingredient list includes all FD & C dyes (Food, Drug and Cosmetic). I did a little internet research on Red #40 but didn't find information on any reliable sites. Many hummingbird owners were upset that this dye was in commercial nectar. Many sites mentioned parents who have correlated their children's consumption of Red #40 with aggressive or attention-deficit behavior.
Red #40 has been tested on animals, along with several other red dyes. It was given to animals in a dose several thousand times stronger than a human would consume and there were conflicting results. Some studies found reproductive and nerological damage, some studies did not. Scientists observed DNA damage in the digestive organs of mice in several studies (1). Red #40 has been banned in many European countries.
As one website puts it, we are not sure of the harmful effects, but we can be sure it is not a necessary ingredient. Looks like I'll have to steer clear of the Rudloph Christmas cookies.
In other news, I have been eating all-natural for a few weeks now and find my grain intake is lacking. I get carbohydrates and sugars from fruits, but have eaten nearly no bread, crackers, or chips, and frankly, I miss the crunch! I find myself craving sugar as well, a side effect of downing junk food as an afternoon-pick-me-up for so long. I am also concerned about my fat intake, which has increased due to frequent consumption of cheeses, nuts, and cooking with real oil and butter instead of cooking spray and margarine. In other news, I still have no desire to exercise.