Nina asks: I love decorating cookies but I am concerned about the additives in food dye, especially for children. Have you had any experience or do you know of any “natural” food dyes?
Baking S.O.S. says: Good question, Nina. There is growing concern about the effects of artificial food dyes as we learn more about its possible connection to behavioral issues and medical disorders, particularly in children, as you mentioned. [Do a quick Google search on "artificial food dyes" or "coloring" and you will find any number of articles about this issue.]
In answer to your question, there are a few sources for all natural, organic food coloring and dyes available at this time. Nature’s Flavors has several options for organic food colors. And thanks to a wonderful blog called Journey to Crunchville, I found even more information about natural alternatives to food coloring. Please visit her site for complete details!
India Tree also makes natural food dyes and colored sprinkles. I found them at Whole Foods for $16.99 for a set of 3 primary colors (directions for mixing other colors are included on the back of the package). If you do not have a Whole Foods in your community, you can order the dyes at amazon.com.
Finally, if you are interested in a comprehensive list of FDA approved food colorings (both natural and synthetic), check out this site. Good luck!