Here’s Why Red M&Ms Vanished For A Decade

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Young people today have enjoyed unfettered access to red M&Ms, but for the generations just before them, it was a rather different story. These classic coated chocolate candies were absent from store shelves across the United States for more than a decade just because of their color.

From 1976 to 1987, Mars, the candy company that makes M&M’s, eliminated the red version of the candies from their mix, replacing it with orange. This decision stemmed from a Russian study that claimed Red dye No. 2 showed links to tumors and birth defects. But, truth be told, “The red food coloring in question was not actually used in M&M’s chocolate candies,” according to mms.com. “However, to avoid consumer confusion, the red candies were pulled from the color mix.”

A student from Tennessee was so upset about the red M&M’s removal that he started an unrelenting campaign for their return and his persistence paid off. Mars reintroduced the red M&M’s in 1987 and they triumphantly took off when red M&M’s made it back into the mix.

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