Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Color Garden® pure natural food colors safe for human consumption?

Yes. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are approved for use in foods by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as color additives exempt from certification under regulations codified at 21 CFR 73. Your mother was right: you should’ve gone to law school.

2. Are Color Garden® pure natural food colors different from coal tar dyes?

Yes. All artificial colors are petroleum distillates or “coal tar dyes.” Color Garden® pure natural food colors are derived solely from fruits and vegetables. They are 100% plant-based. Smell them. We think you will agree.

3. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors stain my children’s tongue, teeth, clothing, or favorite stuffed animals?

No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are 100% plant-based and will easily wash out with mild soap and water. If by chance a small stain remains, all pure natural food colors will be destroyed by bleach. Always use diluted sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) and be careful around all colored fabrics – bleach eats natural colors!

4. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors change the flavor of my food or beverage?

Yes and no. Color Garden® pure natural food colors will not contribute any flavor, mouth feel, or nutrition to your foods and beverages. However, the human brain often “fills in” missing information. When presented with naturally colored yellow rice (for example), the human brain may “taste” buttery rice, even though no butter was added. Similarly, when presented with naturally colored red ice cream (for example), the human brain may “taste” strawberry – vanilla ice cream, even though no strawberries were added.

5. How much Color Garden® pure natural food colors should I add?

As much as you like; keep adding pure natural food colors until you get the visual appearance you want.

6. Are there any known allergens inside Color Garden® pure natural food colors?

No. Food allergies are serious business. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are allergen free. However, if you or your child has food allergies, particularly to fruits and vegetables, here is a comprehensive list of the ingredients we use: Turmeric, Beet Juice, Purple Carrot Juice, Annatto, Red Cabbage Juice, Citric acid, Baking Soda, Water, Caramel Color, Glycerin, and Ethyl Alcohol

7. Are Color Garden® pure natural food colors bake stable?

No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors will likely “bake out” and turn brown in the oven. We have had limited success (1) lowering oven temperature to 250°F, (2) decreasing the density of the cake by using a one inch deep baking tray, and (3) increasing the bake time. Under these conditions we have been able to bake “slightly reddish - orange velvet cake.” Good luck!

8. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors mix directly into butter?

Yes and no. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are water-based and water soluble. They will not remain dispersed in the fat of butter without an emulsifier. You can be sophisticated and use soy lecithin (available at many online natural products stores) or, simply, liquid egg whites (we recommend always using pasteurized eggs). Both ingredients are strong emulsifiers that will hold Color Garden® pure natural food colors in the fat of the butter - yummy.

9. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors glow in the dark?

No. Pure natural foods colors are not fluorescent. They will not glow under the UV “black light” of a bar or dance club. In addition, Color Garden® pure natural food colors will not sparkle under the UV “black light” of a bar or dance club.

10. Will eating Color Garden® pure natural food colors cause my child’s behavior to change? Will his appetite change? Will his attentiveness change?

No. We offer Color Garden® pure natural food colors as an alternative to the artificial colors that, for some children, present behavioral challenges. This is a controversial subject. Some physicians note behavioral changes in children when they consume artificial colors, artificial preservatives, or some combination thereof. Visit the Feingold Association (Chicago, IL) at www.feingold.org. Other physicians note the same behavioral changes in children but conclude that added dietary sugars are more likely the root cause. Visit the CDC (Atlanta, GA) at www.cdc.gov/obesity/. Finally, some physicians do not see any behavioral changes in children. They are men!

11. Can I color sugar with Color Garden® pure natural food colors?

Yes. Remember that Color Garden® pure natural food colors are water soluble. If you add too much too quickly you will dissolve the sugar crystals. Go slowly and have fun. You can make “homemade” sprinkles.

12. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors fade after a couple of days?

Yes. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are sensitive to light and will fade after several hours of direct full sunlight exposure. Store light and indoor house light typically causes Color Garden® pure natural food colors to fade in a couple of days. It is best to ice your cake, cupcakes, or cookies the same day you intend to eat them.

13. Do I have to store Color Garden® pure natural food colors in the refrigerator?

No. You can, if you want to, but you do not have to. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are packaged to be shelf-stable for one year in your pantry provided you do not open the plastic packet. Once opened, Color Garden® pure natural food colors should be used within a day. And consumed within a couple of days.

14. Is citric acid an ingredient in all of your Color Garden natural colors?

No. We only use citric acid in the Color Garden natural red color. Our natural red color is a blend of beet juice (red at any pH) and purple carrot (red at an acidic pH only, otherwise it is blue). Thus, the citric acid helps the purple carrot become red, so that we are mixing one shade of red from the beet juice with another shade of red from the acidified purple carrot juice. None of the other Color Garden natural colors contain citric acid.

15. What is the underlying source of the ethyl alcohol?

The ethyl alcohol is made from sugar cane. Thus, the ethyl alcohol is Non-GMO as are all of the other ingredients we use in Color Garden natural colors.

16. Why do you add ethyl alcohol to Color Garden natural colors?

Color Garden natural colors are extracted from fruits and vegetables. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you capture natural colors and residual sugars. Of course, you also capture a lot of water. Whenever you mix water and sugar, bacteria will grow. Thus, we add less than one percent ethyl alcohol to retard the growth of any bacteria that might have survived the extraction process.

17. Why are all the Color Garden natural colors packaged in single-use, transparent plastic packages?

Our initial consumer panels shared that they “just assumed” all food colors were shelf-stable and would last for years in the pantry. In fact, several consumers in our initial consumer panels suggested we package Color Garden natural colors in small one ounce eye-dropper bottles just like the artificial colors! This is not prudent for two good reasons: (1) natural colors are not as strong as artificial colors - consumers may be upset when several drops of natural color does nothing compared to one or two drops of artificial colors; and (2) consumers will be very upset when they reach for a one-year old bottle of natural color and discover it has turned brown and moldy - yuck!! The only clever way we could think of to insure a one-year shelf-life of Color Garden natural colors was to package them in single-use packets. This way a consumer can use only one packet [designed to color one pound of icing] and the other four packets in the box remain unopened. We selected clear, transparent, food grade plastic so that consumers could see the actual product.

18. Why do you use caramel color in Color Garden natural food colors?

We use caramel color in the Color Garden natural orange color only. Caramel color is available in four classes: I, II, III, and IV. Class I caramel color is literally burnt sugar. It can be made on a stove-top burner. On the other hand, Class II, Class III, and Class IV caramel colors are all made with chemical catalysts that increase the speed of the Maillard Reaction – a non-enzymatic browning reaction in foods. Class I caramel color is considered “natural” because it is burnt sugar. Class II, Class III, and Class IV caramel colors are not considered natural because they are all made with chemical catalysts. Color Garden natural orange color uses a Class I caramel color.

19. Where can I buy Color Garden natural colors?

At present, Color Garden is distributed by Nature’s Best to natural grocery stores WEST of the Mississippi River, including natural grocery stores in Hawaii. In December 2013, Color Garden was launched in Sprouts Farmers Markets, Mother’s Markets, New Frontiers Natural Markets, Kerrville Health Food, and Rainbow Grocery Stores throughout the US West Coast. Color Garden was also launched in Abe’s Natural Market, an exclusively online all-natural grocery store. We are working closely with Nature’s Best and hope to soon offer on this website a “Store Locator” button. Check back in June of 2014.

20. Can I dye Easter Eggs with Color Garden?

Color Garden will color the shells of hard boiled Easter Eggs. When coloring Easter Eggs, it is important to know when – and when not – to use vinegar. The general rule of thumb is that warm “summer” colors (such as reds, oranges, and yellows) prefer an acidic environment and thus like vinegar, while cool “winter” colors (blues, purples, and greens) prefer an alkaline environment and thus like baking soda. With this general rule of thumb in mind, we recommend the following recipes: Blue – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden blue Yellow – ½ cup of cold water +1 packet Color Garden yellow Orange – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden orange + 1 teaspoon of vinegar Pink – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden “spring / summer” pink + 1 teaspoon of vinegar Purple – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden “spring / summer” purple + 1 teaspoon of baking soda

Color Garden will color the shells of hard boiled Easter Eggs. When coloring Easter Eggs, it is important to know when – and when not – to use vinegar. The general rule of thumb is that warm “summer” colors (such as reds, oranges, and yellows) prefer an acidic environment and thus like vinegar, while cool “winter” colors (blues, purples, and greens) prefer an alkaline environment and thus like baking soda. With this general rule of thumb in mind, we recommend the following recipes: Blue – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden blue Yellow – ½ cup of cold water +1 packet Color Garden yellow Orange – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden orange + 1 teaspoon of vinegar Pink – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden “spring / summer” pink + 1 teaspoon of vinegar Purple – ½ cup of cold water + 1 packet Color Garden “spring / summer” purple + 1 teaspoon of baking soda

21. Who created the finished cakes and cookies on your website?

We are indebted to self-taught pastry chef Ms. Megan Gaasch of Orange, CA. She created the wonderful cakes and cookies displayed on our website. She also crafts all the cakes and cookies for our trade shows. She is a very talented chef. What’s her secret? She uses meringue powder (powdered egg whites) to thicken the colored icing so that it stands up and can be shaped. We promised not to share any other of her secrets. Sorry.

22. What is the expected shelf-life of Color Garden?

Color Garden is formulated to last for one (1) year from the date of manufacture. A lot code and an expiration date are printed at the bottom of each individual packet. If color comes out of the packet a muddy brown, then it has reached the end of its life and should be discarded.

23. Can I color hair with Color Garden?

Yes and no. Color Garden will impart color to human and pet hair, but it will promptly wash out. Color Garden does not truly stain hair; rather, it just coats and colors hair. Further, hydrogen peroxide (used in the coloration of hair) destroys Color Garden natural colors.