Brown HT is a brown, synthetic, coal tar-derived dye used in the place of cocoa or caramel to colour a variety of foods. It is primarily used in chocolate-flavoured foods such as cakes and chocolate milk, but is also present in dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

Health considerations

In a number of long and short term studies of the effects of varying concentrations of Brown HT in the diet, in mice and rats, no adverse effects were seen at reasonable levels (that differed significantly from control animals). At above 1% of the diet, daily, for 12 weeks, increases in internal organ weight was seen. There is no data or reported cases of sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy to Brown HT.

Keep in mind

The European Food Safety Authority published a comprehensive review of brown HT in March 2013, concluding that it was safe at current exposure levels.

May be found in

Chocolate flavour cakes, chocolate milk, ice cream yogurt, frozen desserts, spreads, eggnog, cocoa, hot chocolate, confectionery, chocolate flavoured products, alcoholic beverges, smoked fish, chutneys, sauce, edible casings of sausages, edible cheese rinds, soups, liquid food supplements, mustard


The UK Food Guide
Brown HT
Food and Cosmetics Toxicology
Food and Cosmetics Toxicology 2
Toxicology 2

Alternative Spellings and Names

E155, Chocolate Brown HT, Food Brown 3, C.I. 20285

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