Sweet Tooth to Sweet Poison: Unveiling The Dark Side of Red-40 in Desserts and Sweets

Have you ever been happily indulging in a scrumptious dessert or indulging in your favorite baked goods, only to find out later that it was packed with artificial colors, chemicals, and preservatives? It can be disappointing when we realize that our favorite snacks are not as healthy as we thought. One of these additives is Red-40, a food dye that is commonly used in desserts and baked goods. In this blog, we’ll explore the dangers of Red-40 and how it can be harmful to our health.

Red-40 is one of the most commonly used food dyes in the food industry. You’ll find it in everything from mouthwatering candies to baked goods, desserts, and even flavored yogurt. The dark side of this bright red color is that it’s made from petroleum, which raises questions about its safety and health concerns. In addition to its origin, Red-40 is linked to behavioral and physiological issues, such as hyperactivity, irritability, and even cancer. According to a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), red food coloring was linked to cancer in animal tests. Therefore, the increased use of this additive in the food industry has raised concerns amongst health-conscious individuals.

Avoid the following brands and products in each dessert and baked goods category that contain Red-40:




  • Jell-O Instant Strawberry Pudding
  • Jell-O Instant Cherry Pudding
  • Jell-O Instant Raspberry Pudding
  • Jell-O Instant Watermelon Pudding

Snack Pack:

  • Snack Pack Strawberry Pudding Cups
  • Snack Pack Cherry Pudding Cups
  • Snack Pack Raspberry Pudding Cups


  • Royal Instant Strawberry Pudding
  • Royal Instant Cherry Pudding
  • Royal Instant Raspberry Pudding


  • My-T-Fine Strawberry Pudding Mix
  • My-T-Fine Cherry Pudding Mix

Kozy Shack:

  • Kozy Shack Strawberry Pudding
  • Kozy Shack Cherry Pudding

Snack Pack:

  • Snack Pack Watermelon Pudding Cups
  • Snack Pack Fruit Punch Pudding Cups


  • Hunt’s Snack Pack Strawberry Pudding Cups
  • Hunt’s Snack Pack Cherry Pudding Cups

Swiss Miss:

  • Swiss Miss Strawberry Pudding


  • Alsa French Style Raspberry Pudding

Dr. Oetker:

  • Dr. Oetker Strawberry Pudding

Betty Crocker:

  • Betty Crocker Super Moist Strawberry Pudding Mix


Gelatin Desserts:


  • Jell-O Strawberry Gelatin
  • Jell-O Cherry Gelatin
  • Jell-O Raspberry Gelatin
  • Jell-O Watermelon Gelatin
  • Jell-O Fruit Punch Gelatin


  • Royal Strawberry Gelatin
  • Royal Cherry Gelatin
  • Royal Raspberry Gelatin


  • Hartley’s Strawberry Flavored Jelly (gelatin dessert)


  • Kraft Jell-O Watermelon Fusion Gelatin
  • Kraft Jell-O Mixed Berry Gelatin

Great Value (Walmart brand):

  • Great Value Strawberry Gelatin Dessert
  • Great Value Cherry Gelatin Dessert


  • Wyler’s Light Strawberry Gelatin Dessert
  • Wyler’s Light Cherry Gelatin Dessert


  • Hartley’s Cherry Flavored Jelly (gelatin dessert)
  • Hartley’s Raspberry Flavored Jelly (gelatin dessert)


  • Kroger Strawberry Gelatin Dessert
  • Kroger Cherry Gelatin Dessert

Cake Mixes:

Duncan Hines:

  • Duncan Hines Signature Red Velvet Cake Mix.

Betty Crocker:

  • Betty Crocker Super Moist Strawberry Cake Mix.


  • Pillsbury Moist Supreme Classic Cake Mix


  • Krusteaz Supreme Blueberry Swirl Crumb Cake Mix
  • Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix


  • Jiffy Raspberry Muffin Mix
  • Jiffy Blueberry Muffin Mix


  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Cake Mix

Miss Jones Baking Co.:

  • Miss Jones Baking Co. Confetti Pop Cookie Mix

Simple Mills:

  • Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin & Cake Almond Flour Mix with Red-40


Pepperidge Farm:

  • Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies


  • Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies with Red Sprinkles


  • Nutter Butter Strawberry Shortcake Cookies


  • Valentine’s Shape Sugar Cookies (with red icing)

Mrs. Fields:

  • Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Great Value (Walmart brand):

  • Frosted Sugar Cookies (with red frosting)



  • Drake’s Cherry Fruit Pies

Mrs. Fields:

  • Mrs. Fields Cherry Turnovers


  • Wegmans Raspberry Danish Twist

Rudi’s Organic Bakery:

  • Rudi’s Organic Cherry Pastry Bites

Publix Bakery:

  • Publix Cherry Turnovers


  • Hostess Cherry Fruit Pie


  • Pop-Tarts Frosted Raspberry Toaster Pastries

Little Debbie:

  • Little Debbie Cherry Fruit Pies


  • Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish Twist


  • Pillsbury Toaster Strudel with Strawberry filling (Some varieties)

Sara Lee:

  • Sara Lee Cherry Danish

Pepperidge Farm:

  • Pepperidge Farm Raspberry Turnovers

Mrs. Freshley’s:

  • Mrs. Freshley’s Cherry Fruit & Pastry Pies


  • Tastykake Cherry Danish

H-E-B (Central Market):

  • H-E-B Cherry Turnovers


Betty Crocker:

  • Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting (used for red velvet cupcakes)
  • Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Strawberry Frosting


  • Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Strawberry Flavored Frosting
  • Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Cherry Flavored Frosting

Duncan Hines:

  • Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Raspberry Flavored Frosting


  • Wilton Red Decorating Icing

Miss Jones Baking Co.:

  • Miss Jones Baking Co. Organic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (with natural colorants including Red-40)

Duncan Hines:

  • Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Classic Vanilla Frosting with Red-40


  • Pillsbury Funfetti Frosting (some flavors may contain Red-40)


  • Wilton Red Sparkle Gel Icing
  • Wilton Red Ready-to-Use Decorating Icing

Betty Crocker:

  • Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Red Velvet Frosting


Dining dangerously means being aware of the additives, preservatives, and chemicals used in our food and making wise choices. Red-40 is a classic example of an artificial additive that can be harmful to our health. As a consumer, it’s our responsibility to read labels, educate ourselves on the foods we consume, and make conscious choices. High-risk groups like pregnant women, small children, and people with allergies or sensitive systems are encouraged to avoid Red-40 altogether. When it comes to indulging in our favorite baked or dessert items, we must be vigilant about the presence of Red-40. By avoiding Red-40 and other harmful additives, we can take control of our health and make wiser, healthier choices.


Further Readings:



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