Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Tiffany's Science Theater has struck again. This time it's Charlotte.

I took her to the allergist yesterday. I had been hoping to delay as the tests are supposedly not as effective until age 3. But after a mind-blowing incident at the beach (candy coated popcorn in violent colors) that caused her to hive out in her mouth, on her lips, and rash all around her mouth in a rip-roaring 15 minutes, we started considering that we would need to go earlier than that.

When we went yesterday, they tested for milk allergies. They came back negative, but she undoubtedly has lactose intolerance, so her GI issues and reflux and diaper rash is probably all an outgrowth of that, they are just not a true allergy.

We also suspected colors. The Beach Popcorn Incident was followed by a similarly scary Sunkist Gummies Incident at church snack and a Little Debbie Creme Pie Incident. I cannot tell you why I thought red, but I really did.

I was SO hoping that they could scratch test colors. Nope. SO I was assigned a food diary.

This morning, as an outgrowth of a conversation with my mother (who insisted that there had to be some kind of spread sheet for allergens) I decided to Google the ingredients of the things she had the worst reactions to.

The only 3 over lapping items were Red 40, Blue 1, and Yellow 5. The three very most common colors ever. Awesome.

After posting this discovery on Facebook, a friend commented that she thought those were the colors that come in the baking food coloring packet. Yup, she was right. So I decided to do a homemade scratch test. Nothing. I don't know if they weren't potent enough, or I didn't know what I was doing, or what...

So, I figured if she didn't react to the skin test, and Red 40 was supposed to be completely innocuous, then it would be a safe trial run. So for lunch Charlotte was poisoned, I mean fed her red Powerade (as it has VERY few ingredients!) and a peanut butter sandwich. Within 15 minutes, her mouth had hived out, along with her lips, and a nice goatee of a red raised rash had appeared, too. Bingo, Baby.

As the reaction progressed VERY quickly, I decided to give her Benedryll. Which, by the way, is pink. Huh. I decided to read the ingredients. Red 40. I kid you not. Frankly, this makes a lot of sense, as her reactions never cleared up very quickly with it, and sometimes appeared to become worse...Thankfully I had bought a dye free one at the beach, because the Fair Popcorn only had popcorn, sugar, and colors...and she had been fine on sugar and popcorn...

I told a friend, who's son has crazy allergies that I would rather have a child with Downs than a food allergy, because at least you know what to expect. I stand by that statement, by the way.

Red and likewise violently colored medicines have always annoyed me anyway. I mean, really, your child is sick, may throw up or whatever, so lets make sure that they vomit red or something else that stains...brilliant. The children's medicine manufacturers need to fire their product development guys. The colors also do not delude your kids into thinking they taste good, so what's the point?

Now, I am just totally hacked off. Tylenol, Advil, Benedryll, vitamins, amoxicillan...and after reading the ingredients of the stuff in my pantry, it's in flippin' everything!!!

And as the Little Debbie Incident was thoughtful enough to warn me, even the color of a food does not make it safe. An Oatmeal Creme Pie, while brown, has Red 40 and Yellow 5. The colors of red kool-aid and Mello Yellow. I totally did not see that coming... *sigh*

I am going to give her body a break and in 4 days, I'm going to give Yellow 5 or Blue 1 a whirl. If she goes for the triad, I am going to shave my head and mourn at the city gates...


  1. Natural and organic foods never have artificial coloring in them. You can even get natural m&m's (theyre called something else of course) at whole foods. They come in shades of pink, orange and yellow and they are died with beet juice and carrot juice. And no they don't taste like veggies. I actually like them better. I just wish they didn't cost twice as much.

    With the exeption of my occasional indulgence in real m&m's I gave up all food dyes several years ago. I promise it's not as hard as you think. But I will tell you it is more expensive if you don't want to make everything from scratch.

  2. I think I remember goldfish crackers changing to no artificial colors. Even the Goldfish Colors.

  3. Yeah but Goldfish has MSG. I betcha she can't handle MSG either.