Project Purpose

The purpose of my project was to inform myself about chromatography and to test the different colored candy shells of the Easter version of the leading branded colored candy bits to see which ones contain F.D.&C. Yellow Dye #5. I also had many questions about chromatography. Such as, besides using it in the classroom to analyze pen inks, what other values does chromatography have to the rest of the world? I also wanted to know about food dyes. To me the different food dyes were just names on the back of product packages under ingredients.

I decided to do this project because candy packages do not always make it clear what different dyes are in each of the colored candies. Quite often, the back of candy packages list several different dyes right after the words, "May contain the following." This implies that not all of the dyes are used in each of the different colored candies. This project was a way to see what dyes, of the one's listed on the package, were in the four different colored Easter candy shells. Easter candies were chosen because the colors are different than the regular candies. The Easter candy used four pastel colors: pink, blue, green and yellow.

Finding out which F.D.&C. Dyes are used in each of the different colored candies would be very useful to a person who is allergic to F.D.&C. Dye Yellow #5 because they would be able to avoid these candies and therefore, avoid an allergic reaction that would involve hives.

To find out which of the dyes were used in each of the four colored candy shells I decided to use chromatography. I had not used chromatography since the sixth grade when we tested different inks. I thought of this project as a way to use more advanced techniques of chromatography and to learn about more applications that chromatography has in the world today.

Project researched and documented by Ann VanBlaricum

Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to
Copyright 1997
Ann VanBlaricum
All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: These pages were written in 1997 while the author was a sophomore in high school taking AP Chemistry. Hence, the author is not an expert on this subject, she cannot vouch for the accuracy or currency of these data or the links.