Maraschino Cherries Classified as Decorations, Not Food; Contain Toxic, Banned Dye
In 1960, FD&C Red #4, also known as Scarlet GN, was banned as a food additive. Today while it is banned in Europe, in the United States it is allowed only in externally applied cosmetics and drugs. It is not allowed in products that are applied near the eye area.
Despite all this, Red #4 is added to Maraschino cherries. This has been happening because the US government doesn’t consider the cherries as food, but as decorations.
Maraschino cherries were originally cherries from the marasca cherry, of Croatia. They would be crushed and preserved in what eventually would become a maraschino liqueur. During the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1920’s, companies began soaking the cherries in a brine solution rather than alcohol. Coloring and chemicals, including Red #4, were added until 1960, when it was banned because it was not considered ” safe and suitable ” by the newly empowered FDA. In 1965, it was allowed to be added to the cherries again, because they were re – classified as decorations.
Remember that not all Maraschino cherries are made with Red #4. Some contain Red #40 which contains benzidene, a animal and human cancer causing agent.
The good news are that some Maraschino cherries do not contain food coloring. You can find organic cherries with a minimum of added ingredients, if you look around. Make sure always to read the labels and research the food you’re consuming.
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