Red dye is not a typical ingredient in salsa. In fact, we reviewed the ingredients of the 17 salsa products featured below and none contained red dye.
Salsa doesn’t need artificial or naturally sourced dyes since the tomatoes in it primarily give it its appealing medium red coloring. The color of tomatoes comes from one of three pigments in it called carotenoids. These carotenoids are responsible for producing yellow, orange, red, and purple colors.
The specific carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red coloring is called lycopene. According to WebMD, lycopene provides several potential health benefits to the body such as improving heart and skin health while also acting as an antioxidant.
|Salsa||Red Dye (Yes or No)?||Ingredients|
|Pace – Chunky Medium||No||Crushed Tomatoes (Water, Crushed Tomato Concentrate), Jalapeno Peppers, Diced Tomatoes In Tomato Juice, Onions, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Dehydrated Onions, Natural Flavoring, Garlic Extract.|
|Tostitos – Chunky Mild||No||Tomato Puree (Water and Tomato Paste), Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice, Jalapeno Peppers, Onions, and Less Than 2% of the Following: Vinegar, Salt, Natural Flavor, and Garlic Powder.|
|Mateo’s – Medium||No||Tomatoes, Water, Jalapeno Peppers, Dehydrated Garlic, Salt, Cilantro, Red Wine Vinegar, Spices, Lemon Juice Concentrate.|
|Garden Fresh Gourmet – Wild Mild||No||Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Onions, Sugar, Green Peppers, Water, Contains Less Than 2% of: Vinegar, Salt, Jalapeno Peppers, Cilantro, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Celery Powder, Citric Acid, Spice, Garlic, Lime Juice Concentrate, Lime Oil.|
|Santitas – Hot||No||Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Onions, Jalapeno Peppers, Vinegar, Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Garlic Powder, Cilantro, Natural Flavors.|
|Herdez Salsa Casera – Medium||No||Tomatoes, Onions, Chile Peppers, Less Than 2% of Iodized Salt (Contains Potassium Iodate), Cilantro, Calcium Chloride (Firming), Citric Acid (To Acidify).|
|Green Mountain Gringo – Medium||No||Ripe Tomatoes, Onions, Tomatillos, Apple Cider Vinegar, Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Fresh Pasilla Peppers, Cilantro, Parsley, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Cumin, Serrano.|
|Salsa De Leon – Hot||No||Tomato, Jalapeno, Serrano, Onion, Cilantro, Salt, Lemon Juice (Water, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Sodium Metabisulfite [Preservative], Sodium Benzoate [Preservative], Lemon Oil), Garlic.|
|On The Border – Mild||No||Tomatoes, Onion, Water, Tomato Paste, Jalapeno Peppers, Sugar, Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Spices, and Natural Flavors.|
|Clint’s Texas Salsa – Mild||No||Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid), Onions, Serrano Peppers, Tomato Paste, Cilantro, Garlic, Salt, Distilled Vinegar, Lemon Juice.|
|La Costena Homestyle Mexican Salsa – Medium||No||Tomato, Jalapeno Pepper, Onion, Coriander, Iodized Salt and Vinegar.|
|Goya Pico De Gallo – Mild||No||Tomato, Onion, Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Coriander, Iodized Salt, Jalapeno Peppers, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower Oil or Soybean Oil), Citric Acid, Calcium Chloride, Lemon Concentrate.|
|Willy’s Original – Medium||No|
Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Citric Acid [From A Natural Source]), Cilantro, Onion, Salt, Chili Peppers, Cultured Dextrose, Natural Flavors, Black Pepper, Bisulfate Of Soda (From A Natural Source), Garlic, Xanthan Gum (From A Natural Source).
|H-E-B Restaurant Style – Medium||No||Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Salt), Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice), Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Roasted Jalapeno Peppers, Onion, Contains Less than 2% of: Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Cilantro, Dehydrated Garlic, Sugar, Spice, Natural Flavor.|
|Simple Truth Organic – Thick & Chunky Mild||No||Organic Diced Tomatoes in Organic Tomato Juice, Organic Tomato Puree (Water, Organic Tomato Paste), Organic Onion, Organic Green Bell Peppers, Salt, Organic Dried Onion, Organic Jalapeño Peppers, Organic White Vinegar, Organic Dried Garlic, Organic Dried Cilantro, Organic Cumin Powder, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Chipotle Pepper Powder.|
|Kroger – Traditional Milk||No||Crushed Tomatoes (Water, Crushed Tomato Concentrate), Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice, Jalapeno Peppers, Onions, Vinegar, Salt, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavor.|
|Publix – Medium||No|
Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste, Citric Acid), Diced Tomatoes In Tomato Juice, Green Bell Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Dried Onion, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Sugar, Dried Garlic, Natural Flavor, Spice.
In closing, we are confident that just about any salsa you select at the grocery store will not have red dye. However, it is always a good idea to check the ingredients on the label before you purchase a salsa if avoiding red dye is priority. Ingredients can change at any time and the product label will offer the most accurate ingredient information.
Maoka, Takashi. “Carotenoids as Natural Functional Pigments.” Journal of Natural Medicines, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6949322/#:~:text=Carotenoids%20are%20tetraterpene%20pigments%2C%20which,algae%2C%20plants%2C%20and%20animals.
“Lycopene: Health Benefits, Food Sources, Safety Information, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-lycopene#:~:text=Lycopene%20is%20a%20natural%20compound,and%20pink%20fruits%20and%20vegetables.