Franklin Clarence Mars started the Mars candy factory in 1911 in Tacoma, Washington, and one of their most popular candies is M&Ms. These candies were created in 1941 and the two “M”s represent Forest E. Mars Sr and William F. R. Murrie, the son of Hershey chocolate’s president who had a 20% share in the product.
This partnership allowed Mars to use Hershey chocolate in their products, and Hershey had control of the rationed chocolate at the time. They were created in order to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without the worry of it melting. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”.
They are now sold in over 100 countries with 33 different fillings.
However, due to consumers health concerns of suspected carcinogen found in dye FD&C Red #2, red candies were eliminated in 1976. Yet, they were reintroduced in 1986 and Mars, inc. has continued to receive petitions about removing the artificial colors.
These artificial colors were labeled as “neurotoxic chemicals” in the petition by Change.org and a press release from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The CSPI urged the petition to recommend warning labels listing the alleged risks of eight approved FD&C food colors.
The CSPI’s Dr. Jacobson stated:
“The evidence that these petrochemicals worsen some children’s behavior is convincing. I hope that the committee will advise the agency to both require warning notices and encourage companies voluntarily to switch to safer natural colorings.”
Namely, the original bag of these candies lists the following ingredients:
Milk chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, skim milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, salt, artificial color), sugar, cornstarch, >1% corn syrup, dextrin, artificial colors (Blue 1 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2), gum acacia.
Now, let us examine the harmful effects these ingredients may provide:
- Gum Acacia:Is a dietary fiber from the Acacia tree, which causes bloating, nausea, gas, and loose stool.
- Soy lecithin:Even 93% of soy is genetically modified. This ingredient can lead to behavioral and cerebral abnormalities, can cause breast cancer and has negative effects on fertility and reproduction.
- Blue #1:Produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats. It may cause low blood pressure, allergic reactions, asthma, hives, hay fever. If aspirin -- sensitive, caution is advised.
- Blue #2:This is a petroleum based product with a chemical formula of C16H10N2O2. It increases hyperactivity in children, increases brain tumors in lab rats and other abnormal cell development.
- Red #40:This ingredient causes swelling around the mouth, hives, hyperactivity in children and cancer adn damages DNA.
- Yellow #6:This one can be the reason for cancer, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash, migraines, hyperactivity, allergic reactions, and swelling of the skin.
- Yellow #5:Can lead to cancer, hyperactivity and allergic reactions.
“Lake” within these artificial colors means salt was added to the color, in order to make it insoluble in liquids.
As FDA has stated they are safe for human consumption, the Mars company has chosen to continue to use these artificial colors. Even though there are other natural, safe color alternatives, the company still decides to ignore the scientific data stating their harmful effects.
It seems that you are to make your own choices and decide whether you would like to put your own health and the well- being of your children at risk.