What is food coloring made of?

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Food coloring is a type of dye added to things we eat! It can be used to change food's color or just make the color that's there stronger or brighter.  You can find food coloring in orange and potato skins, soda, gelatin, ice cream and many other things we eat! 

Food coloring can come from many sources. Some are natural dyes that come from vegetables. Beet juice makes a very powerful red dye.  Other colorings are made in laboratories.  Caramel coloring is made from heating substances like sugar. It's used to give sodas like Coca-cola their color. Some blue colorings come from coal that undergoes special processes to make it safe! 

Laboratory-made food coloring goes through a lot of testing before it's allowed to be put into food, to make sure it won't make us sick. 

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Find the Food Coloring!

    Take a look at the ingredients listed on the food packages in your home. Does the food in those packages contain food coloring?  Often, food coloring is one of the last items listed in the ingredients list because it takes only a little bit of food coloring to have a big effect! Ingredients are listed in order from which ingredient is used in the greatest amount to which is used in the smallest amount.

    Food coloring is usually listed by color and number.  The number just refers to which formula for the color is used. You might see "Yellow 1," "Yellow 2," "Green 3," or "Red 40."
    What other ingredients are in the foods you like?

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