Consumer Reports: Avoid Those Purple and Pink Peeps

Marshmallow candies look yummy, but Consumer Reports warns of their cancer-tied Red Dye No. 3
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2023 11:30 AM CDT
Consumer Reports: Avoid Those Purple and Pink Peeps
Marshmallow Peeps candy is on display at a store in Lafayette, California, on March 24.   (AP Photo/Haven Daley)

If you're picking up some last-minute Peeps for the kids' Easter baskets this weekend, you might want to stick with the yellow variety. That's because although the pink and purple marshmallow-candy chicks and bunnies are definitely eye-catching, Consumer Reports has issued a warning that those versions of the candy use a dye that's been tied to cancer, reports CNN. "Red Dye No. 3," aka erythrosine, is a "known carcinogen," the nonprofit notes in its alert, calling on consumers to petition Peeps maker Just Born Quality Confections about the issue.

The consumer advocacy organization already sent its own letter last month to Just Born, requesting that the candymaker set up a "clear timetable" on phasing out Red Dye No. 3, which has been found to cause cancer in animals. USA Today reports that sufficient evidence hasn't emerged tying Red Dye No. 3 to cancer in humans, but research has linked the coloring to hyperactivity in children and "other neurobehavioral problems," according to a 2021 report by the California Environmental Protection Agency. In its letter to Just Born, Consumer Reports gave a deadline of March 31 for Just Born respond, which seems like it didn't happen.

"The company has not announced any plans to change its manufacturing process," CR wrote in its Monday release. In a statement to CNN, Just Born calls the controversial coloring an "approved colorant for use in candy" in the eyes of the FDA, and that their packaging and ingredients all come from "reputable suppliers" concerned with safety. The manufacturer adds that its ingredients are all listed on product packaging, and that researchers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to innovate, including via "colors derived from natural sources that can deliver the same visual impact and stability as their certified counterparts." (More Peeps stories.)

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