Food Analysis >> Analytical Testing >> Dyes

Analysis of Dyes

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Groceries are coloured for various reasons, for example to compensate for colour loss by processing, storage or preparation, to make the food typical taste visible or to appeal appetite-stimulating.

Food dyes occur in various foodstuffs, for example in margarines, oils, cheese, fish and seafood, spices, jams, ice cream, baked good, desserts, confectionery, snacks and (dairy) drinks.

Each food dye, that is approved for use in the European Union (EU), is subject to a rigorous scientific safety assessment. For many dyes it is not yet known which long-term effects they have. Some food dyes are suspected to trigger cancer, allergies or hyperactivity. To reduce the health risk, the use of certain dyes is legally prohibited or permitted only in certain quantities.

The so called Sudan dyes belong to the group of azo dyes and include Red dyes such as Sudan I to Sudan IV, Sudan Orange G, Sudan Red B, Sudan Red G and Sudan Red 7B. Further synthetically produced azo dyes are 4-(dimethylamino)azobenzene (Butter Yellow), Para Red, Rhodamine B und Orange II. These dyes are considered to be carcinogenic and genetically harmful and are therefore prohibited as food additives in the EU (not listed in the dye directive 94/36/EC). Nevertheless, these dyes are used in some countries to intensify the colour of spices such as paprika and chili products or to compensate for light - or age-related colour losses.

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