Natural Sciences >> Chemistry

Evaluation of the Average American’s Consumption of the Food Dyes

by Marlee Miller


Submitted : Spring 2017

A plethora of foods produced and consumed in the United States contain artificial food dyes— which are usually used to increase aesthetics, and to also create a certain type of recognition or association with a product. While the Food and Drug Administration approves and regulates these dyes, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) levels are somewhat of a mystery to the general public, as they are not printed on the labels of products which contain them. While the concern level information for cumulative human exposure are provided on the FDA’s website, consumers still aren’t able to know the concentration of a food dye in a product unless they had the laboratory access and knowledge to run an experiment to find out. While it would be easily possible for a science majoring student or professional to deduce, the typical American has no idea how much food dye they are consuming—especially since so many food items contain artificial colors and they are consumed in cumulative combinations. This experimental evaluation aimed to quantify the approximate average of the American consumption of Yellow 5 and Blue 1 from sports drinks, in comparison with the FDA’s acceptable daily intake. By plotting the body mass of an individual against food dye exposure, a graph was created in order to utilize integrals for the elucidation of the area between the two functions for comparison. This area revealed an over-exposure by 92 ppm for adults consuming Tartrazine, and an under-exposure by 84 ppm for children. It also revealed an under-exposure for both children and adults regarding Blue No. 1, with 298 and 353 less ppm exposure, respectively. This would be crucial data for a consumer to make an informed decision about products containing artificial food colorings. It would be even more helpful for consumers with food allergies/sensitivities or health concerns. 



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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Vanessah Rhodus, Physics
Suggested By :
Marlee Miller