EWG Commends Nestlé USA For Removing Artificial Colors

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WASHINGTON – Nestlé USA’s announcement that it will remove artificial colors from its candy products shows that the chocolate maker is listening to consumers who don’t want these additives in their food, Environmental Working Group said today.

“This is an important move by Nestlé USA,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s president and cofounder. “We commend it and hope it will encourage other food manufacturers to do the same.”

Artificial colors were highlighted in EWG’s recent Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives because of lingering questions about their safety and effects on human health. EWG research shows that artificial colors are heavily used in processed foods that have little nutritional value. The additive is an ingredient in about 12,500 products in EWG’s online food database, Food Scores: Rate Your Plate.

“Staying away from unhealthy, processed foods and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet is a good way to reduce your exposure to artificial colors,” Cook said. “But it is always helpful when companies take the right steps to make it easier on consumers who want to make better choices.”

Cook added, “The desire for ‘clean labels’ is all the rage amongst food processers. They are responding to a growing consumer preference for simpler ingredient lists and fewer junky additives. Consumers need to be wary about claims, but when questionable additives are cleaned out of food, that’s a plus. ”

Nestlé USA also said it was saying goodbye to artificial flavors, which can contain a mixture of secret ingredients, and in some instances, up to 100 different chemicals. The company, which markets food and drinks as well as candy, says it plans to replace artificial flavors in its chocolate with substances derived from natural sources. But EWG Senior Scientist David Andrews warns that “natural and artificial flavors really aren’t that different” and “natural flavors can actually contain synthetic chemicals.”

EWG recommends that consumers read food labels and use Food Scores to find better options.