Pulmonary Nursing

Specialties Pulmonary


We are updating many policies and procedures and came across the one on tube feeding. Several hospitals in the area still use blue food coloring in the feeding. I know it's not very realiable and some are allergic. However, changing mind-sets is very difficult with out documentation or evidenced of standards.

.....How many of you are still using food coloring in tube feeding? If you are/are not please let me know and why.

Thanks Judy

We still use methylene blue in our tube feeding bags. :) Stacy

We are still using the meth. blue in our tube feedings as well.

I work in Endoscopy. Last week we put a peg tube in a patient who had previously had an NGT. I noticed upon bringing him back to his room that they had been using MB. As to why, I don't know, but will ask around.

not where I am now, but last job LTC, food coloring

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

Some of the tube feeding tubing has a little blue pellet that in the drip chamber. If a pt is at high risk for aspiration then we routinely put food coloring(blue) in the bag. We get the food coloring from the kitchen


I have been meaning to get back to you on this, but kept forgetting. We have just had a Competency Fair and I have found out more about the MB issue. In my hospital, when you need to be sure the patient is not aspirating the tube feedings, it is permissable to add a SMALL amount of blue food coloring to the feeding. That way, if you suction the patient and get any blue return, you know there is feeding formula present in the lungs.


You can give a patient too much blue dye!! Our hospital lets us use the blue dye for only one 24-hour tube feeding run. Do NOT give it continuously or automatically - only upon suspected aspiration of formula.

We will soon be using the blue pellets that kaknurse mentioned.


I work on a ventilator unit, where the 90% of the pts. are high risk aspiration. The food coloring is added to the feedings in pharmacy where they are prepared.

and just as soon as I say no, dr. orders it...........and thank goodness the patient did not have sputum/spit/suction blue........

There have reports of pts being allergic to it. The speech therapists use it with different consistency foods with nurses standing by to suction. If there is any suggestion of aspiration the patients need to be fed through a 'J" tube.

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