Some FactsBelow iAllura Red AC (also known as Red 40) is a red azo dye that goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40, 2-naphthalenesulfonic acid, 6-hydroxy-5-((2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo)-, disodium salt, and disodium 6-hydroxy-5-((2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl)azo)-2-naphthalene-sulfonate. It is used as a food dye and has the E number E129. Allura Red AC was originally introduced in the United States as a replacement for the use of amaranth as a food coloring.
It has the appearance of a dark red powder. It usually comes as a sodium salt but can also be used as both calcium and potassium salts. It is soluble in water. In water solution, its maximum absorbance lies at about 504 nm. Its melting point is at 300 degrees Celsius.
Allura Red AC is one of many High Production Volume Chemicals. Some manufacturers of Allura Red AC include: Asim Products, Sanchi Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., and Warner-Jenkinson Europe Ltd.
Red AC was originally manufactured from coal tar but is now mostly made from petroleum. Despite the popular misconception, Allura Red AC is not derived from any insect, unlike the food coloring carmine which is derived from the female cochineal insect.
Related dyes include Sunset Yellow FCF, Scarlet GN, tartrazine, and Orange B.
Allura Red AC has fewer health risks associated with it in comparison to other azo dyes. However, some studies have found some adverse health effects that may be associated with the dye.
Potential behavioral effects:
On 6 September 2007, the British Food Standards Agency revised advice on certain artificial food additives, including E129. 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 colors and sodium benzoate preservative are associated with increases in hyperactive behavior 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:
- Sunset yellow (E110) (FD&C Yellow #6) – Coloring found in squashes
- Carmoisine (E122) – Red coloring in jellies
- Tartrazine (E102) (FD&C Yellow #5) – Yellow coloring
- Ponceau 4R (E124) – Red coloring
- Sodium benzoate (E211) – Preservative
- Quinoline yellow (E104) – Food coloring
- Allura red AC (E129) (FD&C Red #40) – Orange / red food dye
The study found that increased levels of hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and lower IQs were observed in children. Based on the study, the UK agency advises that cutting certain artificial colors (Sunset Yellow, Quinoline Yellow WS, Carmoisine, Allura Red, Tartrazine, and Ponceau 4R) from hyperactive children’s diets might have some beneficial effects.
On 10 April 2008, the Foods Standard 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 European Food Safety Authority was requested by the UK FSA to review the study, however, and concluded that the study provided only limited evidence for a small, statistically significant effect. On the basis of this, EFSA concluded that the acceptable daily intake of the colors analyzed in the Southampton study did not need to be altered.
UK ministers have agreed that the six colorings will be phased out by 2009.
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