Food Colourings, Natural & Synthetic

SCA campaigns for mandatory restrictions of synthetic colour additives (excluding iron oxides). Azo dyes including food dyes, FD&C colours and carmine (cochineal or carmine extract) used in cosmetics and personal care products, especially eye makeup and lip products; SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo that restrict the use of synthetic colours, including carmine, to a maximum of <1% or less for leave on products and a maximum of <3% or less for rinse off products. Colour additives should also require a warning on the product label to "always patch test before use" and "discontinue use if irritation occurs" - The EU and FDA has banned the use of many colour additives in products applied to the eye area >


Where a brand tests their products and/or the ingredient of concern is tested for carcinogenic contaminants, test reports confirming that the product and/or ingredients are free-from carcinogens can be submitted; SCA will endorse product(s) containing toxic-free colour additives with unrestricted usage provided proof of testing is provided. (Brands have 12 months to comply with SCA's terms effective as of 4th April, 2019 or discontinue use of SCA's Allergy Certified seal).

Food Colourings: Natural & Synthetic

SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo, that highlight carmine and cochineal extract in bold text with allergy safety warnings. Carmine Red RED4 : CAS No: 1390-65-4 also known as cochineal extract or Natural Red4: “Cochineal may be made from bugs, but other synthetic red dyes such as Red No. 2 and Red No. 40, which carry far greater health risks, are derived from either coal or petroleum byproducts." LiveScience.com

102 Tartrazine FD&C Yellow 5; CAS No: 1934-21-0. Other names: Acid Yellow 23, Trisodium 5-hydroxy-1-(p-sulfophenyl)-4-(p-sulfophenylazo) pyrazole-3-carboxylate. The FDA sates: "Do not confuse certified colors with their uncertified counterparts. For example, FD&C Yellow No. 5 is the certified form of tartrazine, and is approved for use in cosmetics generally. But tartrazine, which has not undergone FDA analysis and received FDA certification, must not be substituted for or identified in an ingredient declaration as FD&C Yellow No. 5." - With so many colour additives available, some certified and some banned, yet they have the exact same name, it is not reassuring from a consumers perspective. The same colour additive can be banned in one country, and permitted in another. If industry insiders cannot agree then SCA's advise to consumers is to take a conservative approach to colour additives and avoid them where possible.

  • 160b Annatto (natural) CAS No: 1393-63-1

  • 110 Sunset yellow FCF

  • 122 Azorubine

  • 123 Amaranth

  • 124 Ponceau 4R

  • 127 Erythrosine

  • 129 Allura red AC

  • 132 Indigotine

  • 133 Brilliant blue FCF

  • 142 Food green S

  • 151 Brilliant black BN

  • 155 Brown HT

HOW ARE THEY USED?

Food colourings are often used in cosmetics because they are approved for consumption, topical application is considered safe. However, people with allergies or sensitive skin, the young or the health conscious, should also avoid food colourings especially in eye and lip products to avoid ingestion.

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS SAY?

Banned in Norway, Austria, and other countries in the European Union have banned the sale of foods containing harmful dyes like red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2 which happen to be the most commonly used food dyes in the US. They have been linked to toxicity and hazardous health effects.

"The major food dyes responsible for food coloring allergies are carmine (red #4), tartrazine (FD&C yellow #5), and annatto." - NYAllergy.com

Annatto (Other names: achiote, onoto, atsuete or urucum) is a natural alternative to synthetic food colors, but it is linked to rare cases of food allergies. DrAxe.com

  • Food colouring & additives: "There is a big number here of both natural and chemical food additives that are hazardous to human health. FD&C blue, red dye and tartrazine are a few of them from the class of chemical food additives. Among natural food additives, food colors like annatto pose quite a few health risks for those who are allergic to it. Brilliant Blue FCF, or the FD&C blue 1 is a food color that has often been banned in some countries, not due to some one time food intolerance, but because it is known to cause cancer and skin and eye irritating substances." - FoodAdditiesWorld.com

  • "Brilliant Blue FCF, or the FD&C blue 1 is a food color that has often been banned in some countries, not due to some one time food intolerance, but because it is known to cause cancer and skin and eye irritating substances. Red dye is also a harmful food additive among the harmful synthetic food colors category. " And, "Tartrazine is a yellow dye 5 that is a harmful food additive that causes a number of allergy intolerance reactions like depression, weakness, patchy skin, migraine, vision disorder, sleeping irregularities and most of all, hyperactivity in kids. It is commonly found in ice creams, juice drinks, jams, jellies and other canned foods. Red dye is also a harmful food additive among the harmful synthetic food colors category" - FoodAdditiesWorld.com

RESOURCES & RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:

Usage Restrictions

SCA campaigns for mandatory restrictions of synthetic colour additives (excluding iron oxides) including food dyes, FD&C colours and carmine (cochineal or carmine extract) used in cosmetics and personal care products, especially eye makeup and lip products; SCA endorses products with the Allergy Certified logo that restrict the use of synthetic colours, including carmine, to a maximum of <1% or less for leave on products and a maximum of <3% or less for rinse off products. Colour additives should also require a warning on the product label to "always patch test before use" and "discontinue use if irritation occurs" - The EU and FDA has banned the use of many colour additives in products applied to the eye area >


Where a brand tests their products and/or the ingredient of concern is tested for carcinogenic contaminants, test reports confirming that the product and/or ingredients are free-from carcinogens can be submitted; SCA will endorse product(s) containing toxic-free colour additives with unrestricted usage provided proof of testing is provided. (Brands have 12 months to comply with SCA's terms effective as of 4th April, 2019 or discontinue use of SCA's Allergy Certified seal).

Amina Kitching