About the webmaster  

My motivation behind creating this site was a recent discovery that I've got an intolerance for Red Dye #40.

After developing rather debilitating symptoms of unpredictable cramping, nausea and diarrhea, I put myself in the hands of my HMO for a diagnosis. After two years and many invasive and uncomfortable tests, I was told that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (I used to joke that in my case it would be more accurate to call it "Explosive" Bowel Syndrome...) In doing some research it became apparent that a diagnosis of IBS is a mostly a catch-all that means "we can't find anything else" While it was good that I didn't have Crohn's Disease, Diverticulitis, Bowel Cancer or Appendicitis, the diagnosis did absolutely nothing to alleviate my symptoms.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the condition, traveling was difficult (imagine the discomfort of a three hour car trip), making plans for any date in the future was problematic and my desire to socialize was low. All I knew was that I had good periods and bad periods and there was nothing to do but find ways to structure my life around the unpredictability of the situation.

One recent summer I was working outside and to re-hydrate I drank a quart of red sport drink. Within a half hour I was doubled over in cramps and it started me wondering if perhaps red dye might be the cause. Eliminating all of the obviously red foods was simple to accomplish and the situation improved considerably. I went from having two or three "explosive" episodes per week to perhaps one every few months. While considerable progress was made, there were occasional setbacks.

Last year, I received a Marie Callender's "Chocolate Silk" pie for my birthday. It's a dark (nearly black) chocolate pie and very, very tasty. Approximately a half hour after eating a healthy slice, I was once again overcome with terrible cramps and explosive diarrhea. It was at that point that I learned that Red40 was used in foods that didn't even appear red, such as making low quality chocolate appear darker and richer. A call to the corporate headquarters of Marie Callender's was fruitless - one customer representative claimed to be unable to obtain the information and another promised to call back the next day but was never heard from again. It was at that point that I resolved to start a website to help people learn about how common Red40 is and where it can be found in our food supply.

As much as I'm disappointed that I can't eat M&M's (at least the red, brown, dark brown or orange ones), Red Vines or Dark Cherry Jello (that one really hurts) in no way do I think Red Dye #40 should be removed from products. I understand that I'm part of a very small minority who have an intolerance for the chemical. As long as the FDA requires thorough labeling of all foods, drugs and cosmetics then we will have the opportunity to read the packaging and decide for ourselves whether a product should be eaten.

All in all, I'd rather eat bugs.


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by Red40