Amaranth is a synthetic azo dye derived from petroleum byproducts. It is used as a red dye in cosmetics and foods. 

Health considerations

Significant intake of amaranth has been associated with carcinogenic and other toxic effects in studies on rats, particularly regarding fertility and reproductive health. The microflora of the human intestinal system is capable of altering amaranth to produce the toxic byproducts associated with negative effects in animals.

Keep in mind

Amaranth was banned from use within the United States in 1976. It was replaced by Allura red. It is also banned in Austria, Russia, and Norway. Its use is legal in the United Kingdom (notably found in glacé cherries), France, and Italy (notably found in caviar) among other nations. See: Allura Red AC.

May be found in

Caviar, glacé cherries, ice cream, gravy granules, jams, jelly, tinned fruit pie fillings, tinned shrimp, boxed cake mixes, soups.


Toxicology Letters
Critical Reviews in Microbiology
The UK Food Guide

Aternative Spellings and Names

FD&C Red No. 2, C.I. Food Red 9, Acid Red 27, Azorubin S, C.I. 16185, E123

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