Tartrazine (otherwise known as E number E102 or FD&C Yellow 5 or C.I. 19140) is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye used as a food coloring. It is water soluble and has a maximum absorbance in an aqueous solution at 427±2 nm.
Tartrazine is a very commonly used color all over the world - mainly because it is one of the least expensive synthetic colors - obviously used for yellow, but can also be used with Brilliant Blue FCF (FD&C Blue 1, E133) or Green S (E142) to produce various green shades.
Products including tartrazine commonly include confectionery, cotton candy, soft drinks, instant puddings, flavored chips (Doritos, Nachos, etc), cereals (corn flakes, muesli, etc.), cake mixes, pastries, custard powder, soups (particularly instant or "cube" soups), sauces, some rices (like paella, risotto, etc.), Kool-Aid, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, ice cream, ice pops, candy, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, gelatins, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles, pickles and other pickled products, certain brands of fruit squash, fruit cordial, chips, tim tams, and many convenience foods together with glycerin, lemon and honey products.
A variety of immunologic responses have been attributed to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance. Some claim to experience symptoms of tartrazine sensitivity even at extremely small doses, and up to 72 hours after exposure. In children, asthma attacks and hives have been claimed, as well as supposed links to thyroid tumors, chromosomal damage, and hyperactivity.
The mechanism of sensitivity is obscure and has been called pseudoallergic. The prevalence of tartrazine intolerance is estimated at roughly 360,000 Americans affected, about 0.12% of the general population. According to the FDA, tartrazine causes hives in fewer than 1 in 10,000 people, or 0.01%.
It is not clear to what extent these problems can be specifically linked to tartrazine in affected individuals. The existence of a sensitivity reaction is well-known, but the existence of more extreme effects remain controversial. The incidence of tartrazine intolerance is fairly low as indicated above, and there is much controversy about whether tartrazine has ill effects on individuals who are not clearly intolerant.
Total avoidance is the most common way to deal with tartrazine sensitivity, but progress has been made in reducing people’s tartrazine sensitivity in a study of people who are simultaneously sensitive to both aspirin and tartrazine.
Professor Jim Stevenson from Southampton University, and author of the report, said: "This has been a major study investigating an important area of research. The results suggest that consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours and sodium benzoate preservative are associated with increases in hyperactive behaviour in children.
"However, parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of food will prevent hyperactive disorders. We know that many other influences are at work but this at least is one a child can avoid."
The following additives were tested in the research:
On 10 April 2008, the Food Standards Agency called for a voluntary removal of the colors (but not sodium benzoate) by 2009. In addition, it recommended that there should be action to phase them out in food and drink in the European Union (EU) over a specified period.
The EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) has reviewed the Southampton Study and found the tests inconclusive and recommended no action in the EU pending further studies on colorants.
Dr. Ben Feingold implicated this colorant in a 1973 hypothesis on hyperactivity, but was cleared of this effect after extensive testing by the colorant manufacturing industry.
Because of the problem of tartrazine intolerance, the United States requires the presence of tartrazine to be declared on food and drug products (21 CFR 74.1705, 21 CFR 201.20) and also the color batch used to be pre-approved by the FDA. The FDA regularly seizes products found to be containing undeclared tartrazine or if declared but not tested by them or even if labelled other than FD&C yellow 5, these have often included Chinese "egg noodles."
Estrogenicity of the syntheic food colorants tartrazine, erythrosin B, and sudan I in an estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cell line.(Report)
Jul 01, 2008; ABSTRACT--We investigated the estrogenic activity of three synthetic food colorants using two in vitro assays in estrogen...
`Here Is a Man Who Writes like a Cross between TS Eliot and Terry Hall and Dances like a Four-Year-Old on Tartrazine'
Sep 22, 1995; It seemed appropriate that Blur should play a tour of seaside resorts. Brighton is the ideal venue for a band swept to stardom on...
Food Ingredient Solutions, LLC. introduces Turmeric 8219, a heat and light stable yellow color similar in hue to FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine).(Supplier Literature)
Feb 01, 2011; [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Food Ingredient Solutions, LLC. introduces Turmeric 8219, a heat and light stable yellow color similar in...