Is McCormick Food Coloring Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 19, 2023

In the vast world of food products, identifying whether or not a product like McCormick food coloring is vegan can be a daunting task. 

This challenge often arises from manufacturers who, intentionally or not, obscure the nature and source of their ingredients. 

Fear not, dear reader! This article aims to uncover the truth and support you in your commendable vegan lifestyle.

Is McCormick Food Coloring Vegan?

Yes, McCormick food coloring contains no animals or animal by-products. However, because it is not cruelty-free, many strict vegans will not consider it vegan, even though it technically is.

Is McCormick Cruelty-Free?

No, McCormick food coloring is not cruelty-free.

The presence of artificial dyes, which have been tested on animals, makes this product non-cruelty-free. It’s essential to differentiate between “vegan” and “cruelty-free.”

While a product might be dairy-free or free from animal derivatives, it might still have ingredients that were tested on animals, making it non-cruelty-free.

What Is McCormick Food Coloring Made Of?

McCormick food coloring, typically found in grocery stores, consists of a blend of ingredients designed to give vibrant colors to your food. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Water
  • Propylene glycol
  • FD&C reds 40 and 3
  • FD&C yellow 5 and red 40
  • FD&C blue 1 and red 40
  • Propylparaben (preservative)


Water, the most natural ingredient, acts as a solvent in which all other ingredients are dissolved.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. It’s used to maintain moisture and mix ingredients together. It’s not derived from animals, making it vegan friendly.

FD&C Reds, Yellow, and Blue

These are artificial food colors. They give the product its vibrant hues. They contain no animal by-products; however, they have been tested on animals.


A preservative used to extend the shelf life of many products. It’s synthetic and not derived from animals, but its vegan status can be controversial due to potential environmental concerns.

Vegan Alternatives to McCormick Food Coloring

For those committed to a plant-based lifestyle and vegan consumption, there are several alternatives to McCormick food coloring:

  • Natural food coloring: Made from plant-based sources like beets, spinach, and turmeric, Nature’s Flavors has organic, vegan food coloring.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices: Beet juice, carrot juice, and spinach juice can be used as natural dyes.
  • Spices: Turmeric and paprika can add color and a hint of flavor.


While McCormick food coloring , along with several other well-known brands, offers a range of vibrant colors containing no animal ingredients, it’s not cruelty-free due to the inclusion of artificial dyes tested on animals. 

However, the positive impact of choosing vegan-friendly alternatives can’t be overstated. By opting for natural food coloring or other plant-based options, you’re taking a stand for animals and the planet. 

Your choices matter, and every step towards a more compassionate world is a step in the right direction.