Trick Or Red No. 3?


I swear that I have seen my dentist more times since the start of high school than in my entire life. I’ve considered the possibility that every candy company has tweaked its recipe, raising the sugar volume substantially. However, the more likely explanation for my increased number of cavities is the immense amount of candy kept in the high school.

Mr. Bruno’s room, Mr. Stark’s lollipop bowl, the college counseling office, jolly rancher Friday. What I’ve just listed only makes a slight dent in the sea of places and times to find candy in high school.

Due to the magnitude of candy in school, I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way there can be more. No! You’re absolutely wrong. I haven’t even mentioned Halloween yet. 

I’m not quite sure if Ms. Abood’s kids are old enough to read yet, but if they are, this is the point at which I advise them to stop reading. 

Ms. Abood is to thank for the inspiration of this article because of her decision last year to bring her kids’ leftover Halloween candy into the classroom. While my first impression of her in this situation was the grinch that stole Halloween, I decided to dig deeper into the story. She deserves a chance to explain herself.

When I asked Ms. Abood about this decision, she explained to me how it was for the good of her own kids. Aside from the obvious reason for cavities, she mentioned something that caught my interest. Many candies contain ingredients that are legal here in America but illegal elsewhere. 

I’d opened up a can of worms which goes all the way back to the fall of 1950. Dozens of children were getting sick from their candy. The culprit was Orange No 1. This food dye, one of seven different colors approved in 1907 for use in food, was being derived from the byproducts of coal processing. This was a wakeup call for the FDA and launched investigations on other dyes we put into our bodies. 

I hoped to find a more current article explaining how this problem ended, but I learned that it is actually ongoing. In 1990, it was found that Red No.3, used in candy corn, Laffy Taffy, and other candies, can cause cancer. The FDA banned several uses of this dye, but none of the food uses. This week, the environmental working group along with several other nonprofit organizations petitioned for the FDA to finally ban this dye. 

Learning about these two dyes and the problems they can cause scares me. It makes me wonder what else I’m unknowingly putting in my body. 

Learning about this also leaves me feeling conflicted about my stance on Halloween. I understand Ms. Abood wanting to protect her kids, and I take back my previous claim designating her as Halloween’s very own grinch. 

I am disappointed but hopeful that changes will be made; there are currently two bills pending in Congress which would help begin to eliminate this problem. I am confident that if more people are made aware of this problem, it can be eradicated faster. In the meantime, I am going to keep enjoying my candy.