A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after sharing a question for Mission, a company that makes a variety of foods.
In a video with over 122,000 views, TikTok user Paden (@padiano) wonders, if Mission’s tostada has no artificial dye, and Tajin also lacks artificial dye, why do their Tajin tostadas include artificial dye?
“Seriously though?” he asks in the caption. “The alternative is to just put Tajin on tostadas.”
@padiano Seriosuly though? Also – the alternative is to just put Tajin on tostadas 🤣 #padiano #weirdingredients #artificialdyes ♬ original sound – Paden Ferguson
The dye content listed by Paden is correct. According to Mission’s website, the brand’s “Yellow Tostadas Casero” do not contain artificial dyes. Neither does the Tajín Clásico Chile Lime Seasoning that Paden shows in the video, which is not made by Mission.
However, another style of tostada from Mission, the Tostadas Nortenas Amarillas, does contain food dyes, specifically FD&C Yellow #5, FD&C Red #40.
These are the same dyes mentioned by Paden. It is possible that Mission’s Tajin tostadas utilize this kind of tostada as a base as opposed to the one shown by Paden.
Users in comments offered other potential explanations as to why these tostadas may contain artificial dyes.
“Because they probably did consumer testing and found that people ‘couldn’t taste the tajin’ without the color,” offered one user.
“Probably because adding the tajin in the dough mix didn’t make it obvious it was in there so they add color so we ‘believe’ it’s there,” echoed another.
“As spices oxidize the color faded… fake colors keeps them looking nice,” speculated a third.
So what’s wrong with artificial dyes? While many international agencies have stated that food dyes like Red 40 and Yellow 5 are safe in small quantities, some studies have linked Red 40 to hyperactivity. Others have noted that a small percentage of the population may have allergic reactions to dyes like Yellow 5.
No matter the reason, some companies have stopped using artificial dyes altogether. For example, Aldi removed “certified synthetic colors, added MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils from all of our exclusive brand food products” back in 2015.
The Daily Dot reached out to Mission Foods and Paden via email.
Update 10:14am CT May 8: In an email to the Daily Dot, Paden shared his thoughts on the topic of food dyes.
“I think companies add artificial food colorings for a few reasons, but I think it mostly is to give the product an advantage over competitors to sell off the shelf (like the Mission spinach tortillas being dyed greener than their competitors so they stand out on the shelf),” he wrote. “My stance on artificial food coloring is that they are overwhelmingly unnecessary, and potentially deceptive marketing tactics. Let’s take the hot sauce videos I have been making recently as an example. A hot sauce does not need any food dye because it is naturally red. So why would a company dye it red? Could the company be using lower quality ingredients than their competitors and then dying the product red to make it look the same? In cases where food dye would be used, such as M&M’s, why would they need to add an artificial color when there are so many natural coloring additives?”
“I really appreciate the support that my videos have received,” he added. “I would encourage everyone to read the ingredients list of any product they intend to purchase. You never know what could be in the items you use every day!”