Mom wants artificial food coloring removed from M&Ms

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MandMs(KTVI) – The dyes that give M&Ms their colors are coming under fire.  One woman says the artificial food coloring made her son hyperactive.

Renee Shutters has launched a petition calling on the Mars Candy Company to remove artificial food coloring from M&Ms.

She wants the same plant-based coloring used in America that’s used in M&Ms sold in England.

So far, more than 140,000 people have signed the petition.  Shutters might have a chance since Kraft recently replaced artificial yellow coloring used in some of its Mac & Cheese products with natural coloring.


  • Roger

    Solution is not to remove the dye from the candy, but to be a good mother and remove the candy from the kid’s diet if it does not agree with him!!!

    • Didi

      This dye is harmful. My daughter only just found out at age 20 that red dye causes her severe migraines. Absolutely, the cause. She loved m&ms but, can no longer eat them. And red dye is in all M&Ms.

      • MK

        Didi .. sorry about your daughter’s migraines.. however, lots of kids suffer from various food allergies from ALL kinds of foods. Simple solution.. they just learn what they can and cannot eat .. example.. various restaurants state clearly that they use peanut oil… after that.. it’s up to the consumer

      • Kerry Van Eeckhoute Geiger

        Didi – I can relate to her allergy to the red dye. I have this problem with citrus, and citric acid. I can only eat about 40% of the food that is available. I can’t have any kind of fruit with juice in it. The migraine is actually an allergic reaction to the item being consumed. I can get a reaction very shortly after digesting citrus.

      • Didi

        MK, you are right. They do state clearly about the peanuts. But, not red dye. She has to watch what she eats. And she had been to restaurants where they do ot have ingredients listed. And they cannot find their boxes, etc. They say, don’t eat it if you are not sure. So, she can eat hardly anything on the menu. We do not patronize those restaurants. They cannot bother, they do not get our business. OCharleys is one. Some are very good, and some are not. Do you think it is an easy thing to deal with? No, it isn’t.

    • Irwin Fletcher

      No, thats not acceptable. I expect a multi billion dollar company to change the way they do business, because when my kid eats the candy, he gets hyper. Only in America. Mom, here’s a clue, don’t give him M&Ms!!!

  • Val

    Yeah, the minute amount of food coloring in a bag of candy caused the hyperactivity. Not the candy itself? Sure, natural food coloring would be great but the reasoning here is insane. Didn’t Starbucks use natural red dye from beetles and people were up in arms? Can’t please everyone. If you don’t like it buy another kind of candy.

    • Didi

      Please do not make judgements or comment on things you have no knowledge of. This woman wants what is best for her child. I understand because I spent 2 years trying to find the cause of my daughters horrible migraines. Red dye is a terrible chemical, and should not be in our food.

      • ByeByeToTheRite

        Didi, great post, but you’re trying to be reasonable with people here, and you have to understand, for the most part these are all the right-wing nutcases who pounce on ANY attempt to be activist and change anything corporate America does to shove another buck up their rear ends, and are sadly brainwashed to believe anything corporate America tells them, because, you understand, POOR people are the cause of all our problems, right? So when you’re dealing with the Tea Party losers, why bother to make a good case? They’re already convinced by Rush “Oxy Addict” Limbaugh just today that this mother is just another “liberal, lefty nutcase”. You know what I think? I think these folks who defend this practice were just hit in the head too often by their strict, drunken Pa.

      • Tinkerbell

        Didi – I doubt the cause of your daughter’s migraines is red dye. I suffer from migraines myself and I found that if I eat fruit and vegetables regularly and get enough sleep, I don’t have near as many migraines as I used to. However, when I do get one, it is usually because of changing pressures in the atmosphere when the weather changes. Storms are almost always a sure migraine trigger as well as certain strong perfumes and cigarette smoke. I would suggest seeing a specialist if she is still having problems.

      • Against Food Coloring

        Tinkerbell, I would do a little research b/f you make a statement that is not true. Maybe the red coloring doesn’t affect your migraines however, it is PROVEN to cause behavior problems, asthma, migraines and other problems in people. So, before amking such comments, check your facts.

      • Jared

        So ignorant… Wah wah wah excacty the attitude that is making Americans the wussies they have become. Get a clue. Live and Deal with ur issures and move on Lady.

  • De

    wow another nut case making the news. what a shocker! sounds like an irresponsible mother using a company as an escape goat for what she should be a responsible for her own son. I agree, you really can’t please everyone!

    • ByeByeToTheRite

      Another nutcase? Because she wants what’s best for her child, which is what the rest of the world already does? I guess it takes one to know one. Nothing more nutcase than blindly following the corporate lie, like sheep.

  • darlene

    don’t give it to him it not the candys just do the right thing he your kid they don’t know what your kid eat



    • ByeByeToTheRite

      That’s 150,000 SIGNATURES, ya dim bulb. Of course, as one of those brainwashed by corporate America to be a mindless defender of corporate America, I wouldn’t expect you to understand that. Maybe someday, you’ll actually learn to capitalize your sentences properly, and if you work hard enough, long enough, you may actually understand something someday. Meanwhile, just keep blaming everything on welfare cheats and vote Republican – I mean, when you’re incapable of normal human thought, what else can you do?

      • Joanna Wideman

        Do you have to turn everything into a political problem? Artificial coloring does have side effects. It’s been shown to cause damage to the liver, stomach distress, and allergic reactions. While I doubt that food coloring is causing her son’s hyperactivity rather than the high sugar content found in this candy, is it so terrible that someone FINALLY came forward and challenged a company to use something that doesn’t have such horrible physical side effects? Other countries have banned artificial colors and ingredients for a reason. I can only hope that every post you make is sarcastic, because politics have nothing to do with this.

  • Nick

    E120 is the color used in Europe instead of red. It is also knows as Carmine. It is used in many products in the US, but it is not a plant extract. It is a bug extract. Vegans and people of certain religions may no longer be able to eat M&Ms.

    How about you stop giving your kid so much sugar and leave my delicious candies alone?

    • ByeByeToTheRite

      Nick, the coloring has nothing to do with the taste. Of course, based on what you said, I don’t really expect you to actually understand that.

  • lsl guy

    Its the chocolate that make her kid hyperactive. Packed full of sugar. Our children only get candy at halloween and easter.

  • ByeByeToTheRite

    Wow, look, there are the usual bevy of brainwashed Americans, defending the cheap articial chemical food coloring used in American products so the wealthy owners can make another buck, while the REST of the civilized capitalist world uses natural ingredients because their governments actually represent the MAJORITY of the people there and do this in their best interest. This is another case of “only in America” does a government support the obscene profits of big business over the interests of its citizens’ safety. Why is it ONLY AMERICA that allows chemical additives? That allows genetic engineered crops? That allows dangerous herbicides to be used on crops? That allows animals to be fed chemicals and antibiotics to fatten them up artificially? Why ONLY America, huh? I’ll tell you why – because the people in those other more advanced countries (almost all of them) won’t TOLERATE it. Here? Unfortunately, about 50% of our population has been brainwashed to not tolerate lazy people who won’t work hard enough, while nothing else matters. Got to give the rich in this country some credit, though – it’s quite an accomplish to successfully brainwash THAT many people! Just read most of these comments!

    • Nick

      The company that makes the natural colors is the same company that makes the chemically based products. In fact the company who makes the colors would likely rather use the natural products. They could charge more for them.

    • Irwin Fletcher

      byebyetotherite, you keep insisting that people are brainwashed because they don’t think like you do. Fact, you don’t need candy to survive. If you feel the food coloring is dangerous, DON’T EAT IT!!!! It’s that simple. If you feel the food you eat is dangerous, grow your own. I’m not brainwashed. I could care less about what studies show. I like to eat M&M’s. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I eat M&M’s. If I die from it, i died eating what I enjoy. I rarely eat fast food. I understand it’s not good for me. But I’m not going to ask mcdonalds to change their menu because it will make me fat and is unhealthy for me. I simply don’t eat there!!!! If the dye causes my child to by hyper, guess what, I’ll give him an apple instead! I’m not going to try to change the way a company has done business for years, and obviously has done something right along the way.

  • rich bauer

    this is the problem with society nowadays. They want to blame everyone else for their personal problems. It is idiots like this that we as taxpayers need to stick together and deport

  • Tinkerbell

    It always amazes me how people want to place blame on anything instead of their own actions – or lack of in this case. Artificial color is in almost every food you consume – check any nutrition label – so if she wants to start blaming, maybe she should contact every company on this planet. In addition, did this woman ever consider that maybe the reason her kid is hyper is because it’s candy and contains sugar?? Mrs. Shutters I suggest you do your research before you start appearing on TV and placing blame on things you have no knowledge of. While you’re at it, maybe you should get some common sense and realize that you do not have to give your child M&M’s. If you want to play the “natural” card, did you think of giving him vegetables instead of candy?

    Nick – you are correct, the same company that makes natural colors is the same company that makes the artificial coloring. Carmine is a natural color which comes from the shells of cochineal bugs – which is used in make up products. Oops, will there be an uproar over this now? :)

    Fox 2, this question is for you – what happened to responsible reporting?? Will you put any idiot on TV before researching to see if the story is even credible?

    • Against Food Coloring

      There is literally, one comment that you made that is true, “Artificial color is in almost every food you consume”. Yes sugar does cause a little energy for children but the chemicals that food coloring is made from is petroleum, yes, what you put in your vehicles. It is a scientific fact that artificial coloring, “natural” flavors and some preservatives are made with poisonous chemicals that are known to cause cancer, behavior problems, hyperactivity, etc. So, b/f you start preaching your “knowledge” and belittling people that do know what they are talking about, I suggest you do a little research yourself. Learn the FACTS!! Don’t just put your OPINION on here. And please, there is no need for name calling.
      If you would take a minute and do some research, this woman is only trying to help educate everyone on the harm all of these chemicals are doing to us. So again, b/f you start preaching about something you obviously know NOTHING about, do your research. I would be glad to talk to you about this if you would like.

  • Lisa Owens

    This woman and the rest of the nutcases should just give their children something different, maybe everyone else prefer them just the way they are!

  • Misty Blue

    I get it… I get the frustration with food alergies, but they’re alergies – some people can’t eat tomatoes, potatoes, or any number of other naturally occuring foods – I get that this is man made product, and the simple solution is to simply stop making it, but there are a billion other products on the shelves that are 10 times more harmful to folks if they have the right food intolerence, so why is this case special? I’m not saying she doesn’t have a valid cause, but still…

    M&M/Mars corporation does well for a reason, along with other candy companies – people like candy, and their going to eat it despite harmful effects, and their going to give it to their children, because children love brightly colored Frankenfood – where does your own self control and responsibility kick in, and the blame game end? Seems like a silly thing to me.. Just don’t eat it.

    Then again, maybe less people would buy candy if they knew where that Natural colors came from LOL! Ick!!

  • Tinkerbell

    At “Against Food Coloring”

    I didn’t make a statement, I just said ” I doubt” – which is an opinion. I am not claiming to know all there is to know about migraines or food coloring. However, after dealing with them for over 20 years, seeing specialists and knowing others with this problem, I have never once heard of anyone saying their migraines are caused by food coloring. Just trying to be helpful and share what I have learned.

    • Didi

      Tinkerbell, I cannot believe you said “you doubt”. You are not the one who spent 8 months trying to find an answer to these migraines. I spent hours and hours on the internet, researching, staying up till 4 AM just because my daughter could barely get up and face the day in the morning. Because, I saw my daughter stop enjoying her life..because of these migraines. She had a chronic, daily migraine. Because red dye was in so many foods! It was because of a series of events that we figured it out. It had progressed to the point that it was no longer an occasional headache. She always got headaches, and had been to Dr.s who gave us all kinds of reasons. Hormones, stress, etc. No. None of those, in the end. We eliminated all kinds of things trying to find the answer. It was because she took a trip to Jamaica in college, that we first got a clue. When she was there, she was migraine free!! For the first time in 7 months. She came home, and they came back. So, we were trying to figure out was was different, and realized that what she ate in Jamaica was natural foods. No preservatives or dyes. So, that started us, thinking..and we looked at the labels of everything she ate, and remembered about a friend telling us once that dyes are banned in some other countries. So, then, after more eliminating, and research, we figured it out. The only time she has gotten one, since we discovered this, was when she got something that had red dye in it, accidentally. She was doing great for 2 weeks, no headache, watching every lable. She got a cold and took the little red Sudafed without thinking, and there she was..headache. She ate m&ms thinking it would be fine to eat yellow, or green. No, she got the headache, and she went online and found an article that said that all M&Ms have red dye in coating. We called the company to be sure. There were a few other times, this happened. The only time she gets a migraine is if she accidentally ingests something with red dye. SHe is so careful. She does not eat it if she doesn’t know what is in it. She has been headache free for 2 years, since she found out. Except for the few times, she ate it by accident. And those times, always, in the food. She has to read every label, because, she cannot take the migraines. Yes, she envies people who eat her beloved twizzlers, etc. But, she is not willing to take the chance. And the Dr.s did not figure this out. We did. She went to a neurologist. He was baffled. She had 7 different kinds of migraine meds she had been given, that didn’t work. And she doesn’t want to take meds anyway. And sadly, some of those medicines, had the very red dye that caused her headaches, in their ingredients! She wanted to know the cause, and we found it. It is red dye. So, please, do not tell me that “you doubt” it is the red dye. You did not deal with this with my daughter. Please, please, do not assume you know something because of what you read. Until it is you,, you have no idea what a person goes through.

  • RDRG

    I see a couple of solutions: find another chocolate candy to give your child ( by the time this is all solved, he won’t be be a child anymore, so don’t wait), research what chocolate fits your sons allergies and make that your chocolate of choice :or find a candy other than chocolate that fits your requirements and purchase that for your son, it’s candy, he’ll love it.
    And for you grown ups- come on! We all have something that makes us sick, allergic, sugar buzzed, whatever. Maybe it is chocolate, sugar, food coloring, caffeine, blu cheese, smells,….everyone is different. I get headaches from barometric pressure changes, I also get migraines (&, yes, there is a BIG difference) and it has never been determined what causes mine, I have never blamed a product or company, it is just the way my body chemistry is, so I live with it. Why are you beating up on each other? Everyone has a different experience and opinion, each has a right to that opinion. It is not worth fighting or getting snarky over.
    It would be nice if all we ate was natural but someone out there would find they had problem with it. You have to find your own solution and go with what works for you.

    • Didi

      NO one is blaming the company. But, if you can get them to take these things out of their candy, then others may follow suit. We do not need the food to look brighter, more colorful to enjoy it.

  • SODA

    And to those against having healthy options, please go have a smoke and play on a busy street..I’ve heard those aren’t really harmful either.

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