- A petition launched on Change.org by Renee Shutters of Jamestown, N.Y., and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) asserts that "M&M’s candies contain harmful, petroleum-based, artificial dyes," but Mars has responded to the accusation, saying it is currently compliant with laws but always evaluating ingredients.
- The approved dyes under fire include FD&C Blue #1 and #2, Yellow #5 and #6 and Red #40.
- Shutters asserts that her nine-year-old son experiences behavioral improvements after she took artificial dyes out of his diet, and CSPI has called on Mars to "get these neurotoxic chemicals out of M&M's."
Mars appears to be exercising a smart PR approach in this case. The petition currently has more than 7,600 signatures (as of Thursday morning), and no food company wants to be seen as insensitive to the health of children. Moreover, Mars is adamant that it is "constantly evaluating and updating ingredients based on consumer preference," according to a statement made by a spokeswoman to FoodNavigator-USA.
The FDA recently approved an FD&C Blue #1 alternative, spirulina, for example, and Mars considers the natural, algae-based coloring source to be a potential option down the road.