Love Nutri-Grain bars? You're not alone. This popular family favorite is found in cupboards, diaper bags and back seats all across the world. It's not the healthiest fare, but you may be surprised to learn that our European friends get a healthier version of these bars then what we get on our side of the pond.

Why? It all comes down to food coloring (you know, that extra ingredient they put in food to make us think it's healthier/fresher/tastier than it actually is). In the U.K., the coloring in Nutri-Grain Strawberry flavored bars is achieved using beetroot. But in the U.S., we get to chomp down on Red No. 40, an artificial food dye that has been associated with hyperactivity, and some types of cancer.

But that's not fair!

No, it's not fair, but the difference is in the way that the U.K. and the U.S. look at food. In the U.K. and other European countries, food manufacturers must prove that an ingredient is safe before it can be used in their products. Let me reiterate: the burden of proof that an ingredient is safe is the responsibility of the food manufacturer. Red No. 40 has not passed those safety tests, so it cannot be used in food served to Europeans.

On the other hand, in the U.S., someone (a nonprofit, college researcher, etc.) must prove that an ingredient is unsafe before it can be banned from use. So the burden of proof here is on third parties, not the manufacturer, and the third party must find unequivocal proof that an ingredient causes harm before they can get it removed from food products. 

In Europe, health regulators require that food products containing Red No. 40 also carry a warning label to inform consumers. But in the U.S., the FDA considers Red No. 40 safe. So Kellogg's (the company that makes Nutri-Grain bars) spends half a penny more on each Nutri-Grain bar made for European consumers to use beetroot, a natural food dye, instead of Red No. 40 in its products. 

It's not fair!

One brand, 2 continents: A world of difference
Higher European standards means that European kids get a healthier version of an American favorite.