Face it. There just aren't any red M & M's left - another victim of government regulation.

Crazed chocolate lovers, used to a lifetime of fighting for the coveted red M & M candies, have known for several months that the Mars Candy Co. has taken the red out - leaving only green, yellow and brown candies in the package.

With the banning of Red Dye No. 2 by Food and Drug Administration, and the questions raised over its substitute, Red Dye No. 40, the red M & M disappeared early last year.

"We withdrew the red because we felt the public perception was that it could be Red Dye No. 2," said Mars spokesman Ken Clark.

Clark said the company did get letters of complaints about the loss of the prestige candy.

"We get letters asking where they are," said Clark, "particularly during the Christmas season, when people like to decorate with them."

Fear not, choco-junkies, Hershey's has moved to fill the void.

Hershey's makes Hershey-ets, a candy similar to M & M's, but not as widely sold. And although Hershey's has also removed red candies from its traditional packages of Hershey-ets, it has come out with a special holiday package containing only red and green candies.

"It's a key item at Christmas," said Hershey spokesman Kenneth Bowers. "And it is selling rather well." In addition, Bowers revealed that a new candy similar to Hershey-ets - but with a peanut confection center - will debut shortly and it will include reds.

Meanwhile dozens of scientific studies are continuing a search of potential dangers in the various dyes, doubtlessly making a select group of test animals the only remaining users of the controversial reds.