Definition

Allura Red AC is an azo dye derived from petroleum. It is the most commonly used red food dye.

Health considerations

Animal studies testing very high doses of Allura Red show no significant adverse effects. Recent studies have suggested that consumption of a mix of artificial dyes, including Allura Red, in combination with benzoates, a type of preservative, may lead to hyperactive behaviour in children. Studies where synthetic dies were eliminated from a child’s diet found nutrient deficiencies as, given the prevalence of synthetic dye usage, a large variety of foods had to be eliminated. This dye contains benzidene, a human and animal carcinogen.

Keep in mind

Allura Red usage is discouraged in Europe, and banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, and Switzerland.

May be found in

Fruit-filled pastries, chocolate, frozen desserts, processed seafood items

References

The Lancet

Toxicology

Food and Chemical Toxicology

Toxicological Sciences

Food and Chemical Toxicology 2

UK Food Safety Agency

University of Southampton

Alternative Spellings and Names

FD&C Red No. 40, Red 40, Orange red, 2-Naphthalenesulfonic acid, 6-hydroxy-5-[(2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo]-, disodium salt, E129

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