This is also called Erythrosine, Erythrosine B, Acid Red 51, C.I. 45430, Aizen Erythrosine, and Tetraiodofluorescein Sodium Salt.
It is a cherry-pink synthetic which is primarily used for food colouring. It is also used in printing inks, a dental plaque disclosing agent and a radiopaque medium.
Erythrosine is used commonly in candies, popsicles and cake decorating gels.
As it is a food additive, it is labeled as E number E127.
In the US, erhythrosine is hardly used because FD&C Red No.40 is widely used. But in Europe erhythrosine is used widely as many European countries ban FD&C Red No.40 because it is an azo dye.
6. FD&C Yellow No.5
This dye is also known as tartrazine, Acid Yellow 23, Food Yellow 4, and C.I. 19140. Under the E number is it E102.
Tartrazine is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye.
A. Foods that contain tartrazine
a. Desserts and sweets
- Ice pops and popsicles
- Confectionary/Hard candies (Gummy Bears)
- Cotton candy
- Instant puddings
- Gelatin (Jell-O)
- Cake mixes
- Custard powder
- Soft drinks (Mountain Dew)
- Energy/Sports drinks
- Powdered drink mixes (Kool-Aid)
- Fruit cordials
- Flavoured/mixed alcoholic beverages
- Corn chips (Doritos, Nachos)
- Chewing gum
- Potato chips
- Processed sauces
- Cereal (Corn flakes/muesli)
- Instant cube soups
- Noodles (Kraft Dinner)
- Pureed fruit
- Liquid/Bar Soaps
- Green hand sanitizer
- Mouth washes
- Cosmetics (Eyeshadow/Blush/Face Powder/Foundation/Lipstick)
- Nail polish & Remover
- Temporary Tattoos
- Tanning Lotions
- Cold medications (Cough drops/Throat Lozenges)
- Household cleaning products
- Paper plates
- Pet foods
- Writing instruments inks
- Stamp dyes
- Face paints
- Envelope glues
To read about tartrazine in detail, click on LINK.
7. FD&C Yellow No.6
This is known as Sunset Yellow FCF, Orange Yellow S or C.I. 15985. This is another synthetic azo dye. It is manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons which is derived from petroleum.
In Europe, it is denoted with the E number E110.
It is useful in heat treated fermented foods.
The Uses of Sunset Yellow
- Orange sodas
- Swiss rolls
- Apricot jam
- Citrus marmalade
- Lemon curd
- Beverage mix
- Packet soups
- Custard powders
- Packaged lemon gelatine desserts
- Energy drinks (Lucozade)
- Snack chips (Doritos)
- Packaged instant noodles
- Cheese sauce mixes
- Powdered marinades
- Bottled yellow and green food colouring
- Pharmaceutical pills
- Over-the-counter children medicine
- Cake decorations and icings
Sunset Yellow is banned in Norway and Finland. For people who have aspirin intolerance may react to this azo dye. It can trigger gastric, diarrhoea, vomiting, urticaria, angioedema and migraines.
A study by the British Food Standards Agency in 2007 found that a cocktail of food colourings do increase hyperactivity behaviour in children. Sunset Yellow was one of the cocktail of colourings.
Dyes Which Are Limited, Delisted & Banned
1. Limited Dyes
- The Orange B food dye is only allowed to be used in hot dogs and sausage casings.
- The Citrus Red 2 is only allowed to be use to colour orange peels.
2. Delisted & Banned
- FD&C Red No.2 - Amaranth (suspected carcinogen)
- FD&C Red No.4
- FD&C Red No.32
- FD&C Orange No.1
- FD&C Orange No.2
- FD&C Yellow No.1,2,3,4
- FD&C Violet No.1
As consumers are becoming more aware of the dangers of synthetic/artificial colouring, more natural food dye colours are being produced.
Some popular natural colouring are as follows:
- Caramel colouring (E150) - This is made from caramelized sugar. (Brown dye)
- Annatto (E160b) - This is made from the seed of achiote. (Reddish-orange dye)
- Chlorophyllin (E140) - This is made form chlorella algae. (Green dye)
- Cochineal (E120) - This is from the cochineal insect named Dactylopius coccus. (Red dye)
- Turmeric (E160a) - This is made from carotenoids. (Yellow dye)
- Paprika (E160c) - This is made from ground bell or chilli pepper. (Red dye)
- Lycopene (E160d) - This is made from tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. (Red dye)
- Elderberry juice - This is made from elderberries.
- Pandan - This is made from the pandanus amaryllifolius plant. (Green dye)
- Butterfly Pea - This is made from the Clitoria ternatea plant. (Blue dye)
In order for the coloring to be extracted at its highest form, hexane, acetone and other solvents are used to break down the cell walls in the fruits and vegetables. As they are under the 'natural' label, the ingredients are not declared on food packagings.
Even though they are 'natural', they can cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis to people who are sensitive. Annatto, cochineal and carmine are the 'famous triggers'.
Food Colouring Trivia
- Colour additives are known as dyes or lakes. Dyes are manufactured as powders, granules and liquids. Lakes are made by combining dyes with salt. Dyes dissolve in water but are not soluble in oil. Lakes are oil dispersible. Lakes are more stable than dyes. Thus it is suitable for food which contain fats and oils.
- In 1978, Norway banned all products containing coal tar and tar derivatives. It was lifted in 2001.
- Tartrazine causes hives in less than 0.01% of those who are exposed to it.
- In a lab research, the Brilliant Blue food colouring (BBG) was injected into rats who had spinal injury. They regained motor control!
- The most common food colouring that are used today are the FD&C Blue No.1, FD&C Red No.40, FD&C Yellow No.5 and FD&C Yellow No.6.
- The ancient Romans used saffron to colour their food into a rich yellow.
- People back then also used minerals and ores to colour food. They used azure (copper carbonate), gold leaf and silver leaf.
- The E number for gold is E175.