Allura Red AC

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"E129" redirects here. For the Japanese train type, see E129 series.
Allura Red AC
Allura Red AC Structural Formula V1.svg
Allura Red AC ball-and-stick.png
CAS number 25956-17-6 YesY
PubChem 6093299
ChemSpider 11588224 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C18H14N2Na2O8S2
Molar mass 496.42 g mol−1
Appearance Red powder
Melting point >300°C
NFPA 704
Flammability code 1: Must be pre-heated before ignition can occur. Flash point over 93 °C (200 °F). E.g., canola oil Health code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g., turpentine Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Infobox references

Allura Red AC is a red azo dye that goes by several names including: Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, FD&C Red 40, E129,[1][2] 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-naphthalenesulfonate. 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.[citation needed]

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 solution, its maximum absorbance lies at about 504 nm.[3]p.921 Its melting point is above 300 degrees Celsius.

Allura Red AC is one of many High Production Volume Chemicals.

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 colouring carmine, which is derived from the female cochineal insect.

Related dyes include Sunset Yellow FCF, Scarlet GN, tartrazine, and Orange B.

Health effects[edit]

Allura Red AC in confectionery
Allura Red AC in strawberry soft drink

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[edit]

A 2007 report from Southampton University questioned the safety of azo food dyes in three year old and 8-9 year old children. [4] In a 2006 report, the authors had noted it was difficult to eliminate all these dyes without causing nutritional deficiencies.[5]

Professor Stevenson, a co-author of both reports, said, "This has been a major study investigating an important area of research." The results suggest that consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours and sodium benzoate preservative are associated with increases in hyperactive behaviour 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:

The study found increased levels of hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children consuming the chemicals.[7][8] Based on the study, the UK agency advises that cutting certain artificial colors (Sunset Yellow, Carmoisine, Tartrazine, Ponceau 4R, Quinoline Yellow WS, and Allura Red) from hyperactive children's diets might have some beneficial effects.[8]

In response, on 6 September 2007, the British Food Standards Agency revised advice on certain artificial food additives, including E129.

On 10 April 2008, the Foods Standard Agency called for a voluntary removal of the colors (but not sodium benzoate) by 2009.[9] In addition, it recommended there should be action to phase them out in food and drink in the European Union (EU) over a specified period.[10] The European Food Safety Authority was requested by the UK FSA to review the study, however, and concluded the study provided only limited evidence for a small, statistically significant effect.[citation needed] On the basis of this, EFSA concluded the acceptable daily intake of the colors analyzed in the Southampton study did not need to be altered.[11]

UK ministers have agreed that the six colorings will be phased out by 2009.[12]


In Europe, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland, and was also banned in Sweden until the country joined the European Union in 1994.[13] The European Union approves Allura Red AC as a food colorant, but EU countries' local laws banning food colorants are preserved.[14] In Norway, it was banned between 1978 and 2001, a period in which azo dyes were only legally used in alcoholic beverages and some fish products.[15]

In the United States, Allura Red AC is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in cosmetics, drugs, and food. When prepared as a lake it is disclosed as Red 40 Lake or Red 40 Aluminum Lake. It is used in some tattoo inks and is used in many products, such as soft drinks, children's medications, and cotton candy. It is by far the most commonly used red dye in the United States, completely replacing amaranth (Red 2) and also replacing erythrosine (Red 3) in most applications due to the potential health effects of the two dyes. On June 30, 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for the FDA to ban Red 40.[16]


  1. ^ From Shampoo to Cereal: Seeing to the Safety of Color Additives at the Wayback Machine (archived January 15, 2008)
  2. ^ Food Color Facts at the Wayback Machine (archived October 1, 2007)
  3. ^ Zvi Rappoport, ed. (2004). The Chemistry of Phenols. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470869451. 
  4. ^ Donna McCann, Angelina Barrett, Alison Cooper, Debbie Crumpler, Lindy Dalen, Kate Grimshaw, Elizabeth Kitchin, Kris Lok, Lucy Porteous, Emily Prince, Edmund Sonuga-Barke, John Warner, Jim Stevenson (November 3, 2007). "Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial". The Lancet 370 (9598): 1560–1567. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3. PMID 17825405. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  5. ^ Lok, K. Y. W., Grimshaw, K.E.C., McCann, Donna C. and Stevenson, Jim E. (2006). "Is an azo-free diet nutritionally superior than one containing azo-dyes?". Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 19 (6): 465–466. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  6. ^ Parents warned of additives link
  7. ^ "Food Additives and Hyperactivity". Food Standards Agency. 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ a b "Agency revises advice on certain artificial colours". Food Standards Agency. 2007-09-11. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  9. ^ BBC Europe-wide food colour ban call 10 April 2008
  10. ^ FSA Board discusses colours advice 10 April 2008
  11. ^ [1] 17 June 2013
  12. ^ BBC Ministers agree food colour ban 12 November 2008
  13. ^ "E129", UK Food Guide, a British food additives website. Last retrieved 20 May 2007.
  14. ^ European Parliament and Council Directive 94/36/EC of 30 June 1994 on colours for use in foodstuffs
  15. ^ Norwegian Food Safety Authority
  16. ^ "Group urges ban of 3 common dyes". CNN. 2010-06-30. Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 

External links[edit]