My advice is to take this news with a healthy dose of skepticism. It's a claim that a popular Easter candy sold in Missouri and Illinois has been linked to cancer.

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This claim comes from a website known as Consumer Affairs. They begin their alert with a simple statement that is bad news for anyone who loves a very popular candy that's especially prevalent this time of year:

Published reports have raised concerns about an Easter staple – those chick- and bunny-shaped candies, Peeps.

The reason? Red Dye #3 is a known carcinogen that the Food & Drug Administration has said caused cancer in laboratory animals. But, it's not illegal to put Red Dye #3 in candies. It's not allowed in makeup, but fine in food according to the FDA.

What does the company that makes Peeps have to say about this?

Here's the statement shared by the company in this press release:

"FD&C Red #3 is currently an approved colorant for use in candy by the FDA. We manufacture all our candies in compliance with FDA regulations, sourcing our ingredients and packaging exclusively from reputable suppliers who adhere to high quality and safety standards,”

Here's why you should be skeptical of this report

When I see news like this, I immediately want to know more about the source. At the top of the Consumer Affairs website you'll see this:

ConsumerAffairs is not a government agency and may be compensated by companies displayed.

In their defense, they disclose how their relationships with companies works. Look at the list of companies that they work with and ask yourself if any of those benefit from the makers of Peeps being associated with a carcinogen.

Does Red Dye #3 cause cancer when used in foods?

I decided to do my own research apart from the Consumer Affairs article. The National Library of Medicine does recommend that companies move away from 4 different dyes including Red Dye #3 when manufacturing food because of lab tests. They say:

The inadequacy of much of the testing and the evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity, coupled with the fact that dyes do not improve the safety or nutritional quality of foods, indicates that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply and replaced, if at all, by safer colorings.

My recommendation is you do your own research if you have concerns. Will this lessen the popularity of Peeps? I seriously doubt it, but hopefully the government agencies can do some more solid research to tell us if there's a legitimate concern.

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