"Buried deep within the study methods is the admission that, “The study agents were formulated as synthetic dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate (50 percent powder) and synthetic beta carotene (10 percent water-soluble beadlets); all formulations were colored with quinoline yellow.”
"How is synthetic beta carotene made?
Instead the reality is synthetic beta carotene is manufactured from benzene extracted from acetylene gas (really, we’re not making this up). Benzene is a natural constituent of crude oil, and is one of the most basic petrochemicals. Not only do these substances have no nutritional value, benzene is considered to be a carcinogen or cancer-causing substance."
Another yellow dye, used to colour medicines, some soft drinks, Scotch eggs and smoked fish, this is banned in the US and Australia for its possible cancer-causing properties. Studies by the US National Toxicology Programme in 1997 found rats fed the colouring had higher rates of liver and kidney tumours. Professor Howard's team found that when E104 was combined with Aspartame (many common soft drinks contain them both), the effect on nerve cells was up to seven times greater than when the additives were tested alone. The combined additives were not tested in vast quantities, but at concentrations that mimicked the amount in a child's bloodstream after eating foods containing these colourings. The Aspartame Information Service, which represents the sweetener industry, dismissed the research, saying that it "did not provide any meaningful information" because it exposed mouse cells in the laboratory to undigested aspartame. Quinoline yellow is also being studied in the current University of Southampton trials.
That New York times article is not good journalism.