Can You Be Too Careful?

Can food coloring poison you?
Dyes, pigments or colorings are found in soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, lipsticks, vitamins, cereals, juices and contact lenses—and that's even before your day gets going. The Food and Drug Administration subjects additives to the most rigorous tests of any products out there.

Over the years, certain dyes have raised red flags. One, FD&C Yellow No. 5, listed as tartrazine on some medicine labels and found in dessert powders, custards and some beverages, can cause itching and hives, though in fewer than one out of 10,000 people. Still, safety notwithstanding, the FDA suggests that consumers should avoid taking in huge quantities of any single additive.

Bottom line: Have one maraschino cherry, not 2,000.