Do BBQ Chips Have Red Dye? (Answered)

Red Dye & BBQ Chips

Have you ever wondered about the vibrant red or orange coloring of your favorite BBQ chips? While it may not always appear natural, this article aims to shed some light on the coloring process and whether artificial red dyes are commonly used.

In the following sections, we’ll cover what you need to know about the use of red dyes in BBQ chips. Let’s get into it!

Are Red Dyes Used in BBQ Chips?

Some BBQ chips have red dye, including the controversial synthetic Red 40. However, if you view the table below you will see that many BBQ chips are free of artificial red dyes. In fact, many of the products below are colored with natural ingredients like extractive of paprika and/or tomato powder.

If you wish to avoid Red 40 or other synthetic dyes in your BBQ chips, it is best to review the ingredients on the label of any chips you are thinking about purchasing. This includes the chips listed below considered ingredients can change at any time.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires that the dyes used in foods be listed in the ingredients. In other words, if a food contains a dye such as Red 40, for example, it will be listed in the ingredients list on the chip bag.

BBQ Chip ProductArtificial Red Dye (Yes or No)?
Better Made – BarbecueNo
Boulder Canyon – Hickory BarbecueNo
Cape Cod – Sweet Mesquite BarbequeNo
Golden Flake – Sweet Heat BarbecueNo
Great Lakes – Michigan Cherry BBQNo
Great Value – BarbequeNo
Hawaiian Kettle Style – Luau BBQ ChipsNo
Herr’s – Stubb’s Original Bar-B-QNo
Humpty Dumpty – BBQ No
Jay’s – BarbecueYes (Red 40 Lake. Also contains Yellow 6 Lake.)
Kettle Brand – Backyard BarbequeNo
Lay’s – Barbecue No
Miss Vickie’sNo
Old Dutch – BBQNo
Pringles – BBQNo
Publix – BarbecueNo
Ruffles – Flamin’ Hot BBQYes (Red 40 Lake. Also contains Yellow 6 Lake.)
Spudlove – Organic BarbecueNo
Utz – Honey BarbequeNo
Wise – BBQYes (Red 40. Also contains Yellow 5 & Blue 1.)

If you are interested in this article about red dye in barbecue chips, you may also be interested in our article on Red Dye in Doritos or Red Dye in Cheetos.

Why Avoid Red 40?

If you are here, you likely understand the controversies surrounding the use of Red 40 in foods. However, here are some of the primary reasons why some people choose to avoid it.

Firstly, there have been some studies that suggest that Red Dye 40 may cause hyperactivity in some children. However, most children experience no side effects from the artificial coloring.

There is no link of Red 40 causing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but studies have shown that Red 40 potentially worsens the symptoms of ADHD in some kids that already have the disorder (source).

Research also suggests that Red 40 may cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms are often mild and are typically isolated to the skin but may include hives, skin irritation, swelling, itching, and headaches, among other mild issues.

Lastly, Red 40 contains benzene, a carcinogen. As the Cleveland Clinic indicates, research has found that high doses of synthetic food colorings in animals has resulted in tumor growth.

However, It is believed that the food dyes that we consume are too small in quantity to be of a concern for cancer but certainly more research needs to be completed on the topic.

The above being said, any synthetic dye found in your BBQ chips or other foods from the grocery store has been approved for use by the FDA in a quantity that has been determined to be safe. It is ultimately up to you whether the potential risks are worth consuming products with artificial dyes.