Does Dr Pepper Have Red Dye? (Answered)

This article will quickly inform you whether Dr Pepper has red dye. Here are the details….

Red Dye In Dr Pepper?

No, Dr Pepper does not have red dye in it. The color of Dr Pepper is actually dark brown and not red. The primary packaging/can color of Dr Pepper is red, which likely tricks people into also thinking the soda itself is red.

If Dr Pepper contained red dye, it would be required to be disclosed in the ingredients per U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) regulations. The most likely dye that would be used would be Red 40 which is in sodas like Mtn Dew Code Red, Cherry 7Up, and Big Red.

A review of Dr Pepper’s ingredients (see below) reflects no red dye. Rather, this soda is colored with caramel color similar to Coke and Pepsi.

Dr Pepper Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Caffeine.

Is Caramel Color Safe?

Caramel color has been used for over 150 years and is one of the most widely used color additives in foods and beverages. It is typically made by heating corn syrup with a reactant such as an acid, alkali, or salt to begin caramelization.

The FDA, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Health Canada, and others have deemed caramel color safe to consume. However, there is a concern with a byproduct called 4-Methylimidizole (4-MEI) that the cooking process sometimes produces.

A 2-year study found that 4-MEI increased the occurrence of tumors in the lungs of mice. That being said, the levels of 4-MEI used on the mice greatly exceed the amount humans would typically consume. A later study on rodents also found developmental and reproductive effects on both sexes, but again, the levels of 4-MEI used in this study far exceeded what humans would consume.

Based on current research, caramel color appears to be safe based on levels of 4-MEI that humans normally consume. If you have doubts, simply eliminate foods and beverages containing caramel color.

Is caramel color safe? – learn: DDW the color house. DDW. (2021, March 24). Retrieved December 23, 2022, from