What Are the Dyes in Skittles?

Artificial food dyes contained in Skittles candy include blue 1, blue 1 lake, blue 2 lake, red 40, red 40 lake, yellow 5, yellow 6, yellow 5 lake and yellow 6 lake. Studies reveal that Skittles contain the highest amount of blue, red and yellow dyes among most candy brands.

Food dyes used in making Skittles candy are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for regulating food ingredients. In addition to food dyes, Skittles also contain regular sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated palm kernel oil. These same dyes are among the ingredients in a variety of food products. Food dyes are found in flavored drinks and desserts, such as gelatin, pudding and boxed macaroni and cheese. Artificial dyes are also found in personal care products, such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste.

Debate about the safety of artificial food dyes persists. Some people are concerned about the toxic effects of artificial food dyes on humans, particularly children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Organizations representing grocery stores and some large food manufacturers dispute the validity of safety issues concerning artificial dyes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems that more studies are needed in this area before initiating a ban.