An American mum has started a crusade to have artificial food dyes removed from M&Ms. Apparently, in Europe, natural plant-based dyes are used to provide the colour for the candy shells of M&Ms. As there is potential that some of these artificial food dyes have negative effects on health I can get behind the demand to have these ingredients removed from food products.
Some of my comments on the petition to remove food dyes from Kraft Dinner in the US apply to this matter as well. I think that it’s important to bear in mind that regardless of the source of colour, we’re still talking about candy here. Changing the source of the colour is not going to make M&Ms any healthier. M&Ms should still be regarded as a treat; not as a regular part of a diet.
In addition, I’d also like to take the time to remind people that “natural” doesn’t necessarily make a food superior. It’s actually a pretty meaningless marketing term. Remember that “natural vanilla flavour” might come from beaver anal glands and sometimes ground insects are used to colour foods.