This week’s announcement of “early fall arrival” at Starbucks was followed by more negativity than ever before. Consumers want to be equipped with knowledge when it comes to buying food and drinks. Therefore just as soon as the Pumpkin Spice Latte’s made headlines, they were followed by bloggers and food experts questioning what exactly makes up this delicious and indulgent coffee drink that promises to leave you feeling like fall has arrived (even when it is still 98F here in Florida!).
The results shocked moms across the country who were so looking forward to their favorite time of day, right after kids are dropped off at school. It’s personal coffee time! Unfortunately, you may want to take Pumpkin Spice Latte off your list of choices. To the surprise of many, its long list of ingredients has plenty of harmful components. On the menu it says in simple words, “The Pumpkin Spice Latte is of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with espresso and steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.” Here is alarming truth; this latte contains no pumpkin at all. In my opinion that is not the worst news: it includes “caramel color level IV” which is an artificial food coloring made with ammonia.
Here is what I really want to come out of this “viral” news that has hit the social media fast this last week: Wake up moms! Caramel food coloring, as well as many other harmful artificial food coloring, is a common ingredient in many foods you might be packing in your kid’s lunch boxes as we speak!
Caramel color is one of the oldest and most widely used food colorings. Often it is added to soft drinks and other beverages, batters, beer, brown bread, buns, chocolate, cookies, cough drops, liquors, candy, custards, potato chips, doughnuts, frozen desserts, fruit preserves, ice cream, sauces, dressings, vinegar and so much more. There have been a handful of studies that looked at this additive’s risks for humans. In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined the chemical to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans” after a federal government study concluded that it caused cancer in mice ("Caramel Coloring in Soda – Artificial Food Coloring".consumerreports.org. Consumer Reports. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.)
Food dyes are abundant in so many foods that are targeted to children mainly because they do indeed make food “look better.” Food manufacturers use these synthetic ingredients to make their products stand out on the shelf more than their competitors. In addition to the potential cancer risks these substances may cause, there are other side effects that are much more apparent to parents on a daily basis. Dr. Sears recommends that parents trying to solve behavior issues with their children by cutting out all food coloring from their diet. He believes that alongside MSG and high fructose corn syrup, food colorings are the main culprits affecting children’s behavior (http://www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org/resources/healthy-living/family/behavior/).
The presence of artificial food colorings in any products prevent them from being awarded the Kid Kritics Seal of Approval. We strongly believe in not feeding our children any artificial additives. We all support the need for more research to better explain their effects on not only the human body, but more importantly on the growing body and developing brain of children. The reality is that foods do not require food coloring. It is simply added to enhance visual pleasantness and package the product for first pick by shoppers, you. Say “no thanks” by voting with your pocket book. Be assured, we choose to only taste test and recommend products that are free from these substances, and will continue to do so for the health of our children and yours!
… for the health of your family,