The Somewhat Amusing Medical Condition Associated With a Kids’ Cereal

In 1971, Walt Disney World had just opened in Orlando, Led Zepplin was about to blow our minds, a prison riot had been shut down at Attica, and all across America kids were pooping pink. Hundreds of mothers hospitalized their children for fecal testing out of fear of internal bleeding. Within that same year, not-so-coincidentally, General Mills released their classic monster cereals Count Chocula and Franken Berry. It just so happens that Franken Berry was colored red using “Food, Drug and Cosmetics” (FD & C) Red No. 2 and No. 3., chemically known as amaranth, a synthetic color named after the natural flower. The synthetic dye can’t be broken down or absorbed by the body, so the result is pink poop. A 1972 case study published in Pediatrics called the phenomenon “Franken Berry Stool” and labeled it as a genuine medical condition. Apparently, Booberry cereal, which uses Blue No. 1 and turns stool green, seemed less life-threatening and did not qualify to be considered a true medical condition. These days, the only red color accepted by the FDA is Red No. 40, so when you open your celebratory Franken Berry monster cereal this Halloween, all you’ll get is a sugar high, minus the pink poop aftermath.