Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Want Something Green on St. Patrick's Day? Try Kale

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Want Something Green on St. Patrick's Day? Try Kale

Article excerpt

Bar owner Steve Baskinger used to make a big deal out of selling green beer on St. Patrick's Day. Now he just keeps a little bottle of green food coloring tucked away on a corner shelf, on standby.

"Here and there, someone will ask for a green beer, and I'll put it in, to-order," said the owner of Bask Bar and Grill in Woodland Park and 381 Main Bar in Little Falls. "But it's not a big thing, like it once was."

Say it ain't so, lad. Could it be, this St. Patrick's Day? Has that cheesy American tradition of green draft beer, green milk shakes and green bagels become as worn out as a bagpipe player's kilt after a few too many funeral dirges? Is green dye a dying thing?

It's been a bad run for dyes, in general, these days. Kraft macaroni and cheese - a processed American classic -- is removing Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from its children's varieties, such as the pastas shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants. The change was instigated by a consumer petition drive asking to drop the dye upon learning that in Europe, foods with Yellow No. 5 are required to include a warning label that says, "This product may have adverse effect on activity and attention in children." Kraft will replace the food coloring with paprika and beta-carotene to add color.

But make no mistake - the dye that synthesizes that bright orange cheddar-like glow will remain in the popular, original elbow-shaped variety, a staple of American dorm rooms, frat houses and bachelor pads for centuries now. Some things, you just don't mess with. No matter how toxic.

Then came a recent Rutgers study just last month that scared the pants off some people - especially if their pants were yellow. It found that yellow dyes found in many common household products and items could contain PCB 11, which is regularly found in yellow dyes in printing inks, paper, paint and clothing. While researchers said they need to conduct further study on the toxicity of PCB 11 specifically, previous studies have linked PCBs in general with irritations, cancer, birth defects and developmental problems in children and even very bad acne.

So with this spectrum of things to worry about, should we be afraid of the dye in green beer? …

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