Could Your Favorite Easter Candy Kill You?

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but here’s something to consider

an easter basket willed with green grass and multi-colored bunny marshmallow peeps
These little guys might look innocent, but they'll get ya

Whether you love them or hate them, it’s Peeps season, and the gooey marshmallow confections seem to be everywhere. But Consumer Reports wants to warn you of a very real danger lurking in the adorable, sugar-dusted chicks and bunny rabbits. The nonprofit is pushing for a removal of Red Dye No. 3 from Peeps, which it says is a carcinogen and has the potential to cause cancer in animals. 

The additive was banned from cosmetics in 1990, and lawmakers, scientists and organizations like Consumer Reports have been encouraging its removal from food products in the decades following. You would think if it was banned from cosmetics they would also ban it from things we ACTUALLY EAT, but American food regulations are trash to begin with, so it makes sense. 

Multiple Peeps products, including Pink Marshmallow Chicks and Easter Marshmallow Pink Bunnies, contain Red Dye No. 3 to give them their innocent pastel hue. But Just Born Confections, the manufacturer of Peeps, said in a statement that it’s following FDA regulations and “strives to inform consumers about ingredients through details on its packaging and websites.”

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Opponents of the ban argue that Red Dye No. 3’s link to cancer has only been found in studies where animals were given high doses of the stuff. Its effects have never been tested on humans. But on the flipside, the USDA’s Delaney Clause prohibits the approval of any food additive that’s found to cause cancer in humans or animals. It doesn’t, however, say anything about the amount.

“What that clause says is that if a chemical is known to cause cancer in animals or humans, it is not allowed in the food supply. Period,” Michael Hansen, a senior scientist for Consumer Reports, told Gothamist. “And Red 3 meets those considerations.”

Look, I’m no doctor, but if you eat a Peep or two this Easter weekend, it’s probably not going to make you keel over. But it obviously calls to mind a much bigger issue — that this shit shouldn’t be in our food in the first place.

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