By Riki Shore
I was asked to chaperone a field trip with my daughter’s Kindergarten class. All the kids brought sack lunches – and there was a pretty decent variety of foods. This is the one snack that got passed around. Everyone wanted some of these. Can you guess what this is? Can you determine if it’s gluten-free? Do you know why the manufacturers chose to point out Yellow 6 as one of the artificial coloring agents? The answers are below.
Corn and/or Sunflower Oil
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Artificial Colors (including Yellow 6)
The manufacturers state clearly on their website that this product contains “No Gluten Ingredients”. This lets you know that none of the ingredients, in their raw state, contain gluten. What it doesn’t tell you is whether this product is manufactured on equipment shared with products that do contain gluten ingredients. Note that the product doesn’t boast “100% certified gluten-free”.
Yellow 6 is also known as Sunset Yellow. It’s an artificial dye made from hydrocarbons from petroleum. It has been linked to hyperactivity in children and may contain impurities left behind in the manufacturing process that are known carcinogens. It is banned in Norway and Finland, and has been recommended to be phased out of foods for children in Britain and the EU. The Center for Science in the Public Interest called for a ban on Yellow 6 last year, saying it does “absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children, and possibly, cancer in anybody”. One thing we can say for sure is, it’s not food, so we probably shouldn’t be eating it.
This product is FritoLay Cheetos Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks.
Wouldn’t it be great if I told you this snack was healthy because it was gluten-free? Or gave you a recipe for making homemade, organic Cheetos with raw milk cheese and Maldon sea salt? But I can’t dupe you like that. The fact is, Cheetos aren’t good for anybody to be eating, mostly because they aren’t made from food.
The next time you crave something salty, cheesy and crunchy, you’d do better to eat a slice of real aged cheddar on a gluten-free cracker. One of my favorite GF crackers is coming out of Australia these days. I recommend trying the Byron Bay Crispbread or VPC Potato Crackerthins. If you’re in Los Angeles, both of these are available at The Cheese Store of Silverlake.