Sunset Yellow FCF

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sunset Yellow FCF
FD&C Yellow 6.svg
Sunset Yellow FCF ball-and-stick.png
CAS number 2783-94-0 YesY
PubChem 6093232
ChemSpider 11431290 YesY
KEGG C19531 N
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C16H10N2Na2O7S2
Molar mass 452.37 g mol−1
Melting point 300 °C (572 °F; 573 K)
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 2: Intense or continued but not chronic exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury. E.g., chloroform 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

Sunset Yellow FCF (also known as Orange Yellow S, FD&C Yellow 6 or C.I. 15985) is a synthetic yellow azo dye with a pH dependent maximum absorption between 480 and 500 nm,[1]p.463 manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum. When added to foods sold in Europe, it is denoted by E Number E110.[2] There are reports it can induce an allergic reaction.


Sunset Yellow is useful in fermented foods which must be heat treated. It may be found in orange sodas, marzipan, Swiss rolls, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, sweets, beverage mix and packet soups, margarine, custard powders, packaged lemon gelatin desserts, energy drinks such as Lucozade, breadcrumbs, snack chips such as Doritos, packaged instant noodles, cheese sauce mixes and powdered marinades, bottled yellow and green food colouring, ice creams, pharmaceutical pills and prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines (especially children's medicines) cake decorations and icings, squashes, and other products with artificial yellow, orange or red colours.

Sunset Yellow is often used in conjunction with E123, amaranth, to produce a brown colouring in both chocolates and caramel.[citation needed]

At high concentrations, Sunset Yellow in solution with water undergoes a phase transition from an isotropic liquid to a nematic liquid crystal. This occurs between 0.8 M and 0.9 M at room temperature.

Health effects[edit]

Sunset Yellow may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction in people with an aspirin intolerance,[3] resulting in various symptoms, including gastric upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria), swelling of the skin (angioedema) and migraines.[4]

Newer methods of testing for adverse reactions to food additives show some people do have a sensitivity to Sunset Yellow, inter alia.[5] Sunset Yellow may have immunomodulatory effects.[6]

Experiments with rats show that Sunset Yellow, in combination with other dyes, may give rise to more toxic effects than are produced by each dye individually.[7]


As a result of these potential health issues, there have been calls for the withdrawal of Sunset Yellow from food use.

On 6 September 2007, the British Food Standards Agency revised advice on certain artificial food additives, including E110. 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 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."[8]

On 10 April 2008, the Foods Standard Agency called for a voluntary removal of the colours (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]

Sunset Yellow is banned as a food additive in Norway.[11]

In 2008, a proposed EU deal specified that food and drinks containing any of six artificial colourings that may be linked to hyperactive behaviour in children will have to carry warnings, including Sunset Yellow. The requirement would apply to imports, as well as those made in the EU.[12] Hundreds of products containing the colourings are expected to disappear from shops in the period 2008-2010 following the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) call for a voluntary ban on their use in food products.[12] UK ministers have agreed that the six colourings will be phased out by 2009.[13][dated info]

EFSA decided in 2009 to lower the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for Sunset Yellow FCF from 2.5 mg/kg to 1.0 mg/kg bodyweight per day[citation needed]. Impurities in production may leave unsulphonated aromatic amines in concentrations of 100 mg/kg which may be associated with carcinogenicity.[citation needed] Also a study found that mixtures of four synthetic colours plus the preservative sodium benzoate (E211) cause increased hyperactivity in humans. Sensitivity reactions may occur when Sunset Yellow FCF is mixed with other synthetic colours.[14]

Also, the EFSA panel noted the JECFA limit for lead is ≤ 2 mg/kg, whereas the EC specification is ≤ 10 mg/kg. The colour additive can also increase the intake of aluminium beyond the tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 1 mg/kg/week. Therefore, the limit for aluminum may become adjusted to accommodate for this.[15][clarification needed]

On June 30, 2010, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) called for the FDA to ban Yellow 6. The CSPI said, "These synthetic chemicals do absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children and, possibly, cancer in anybody."[16]

On September 9, 2011, the European Union announced that they would be reducing the maximum permitted concentration of sunset yellow (in drinks) from 50mg/L to 20mg/L. The proposed change to be adopted by the end of the year.[17]


  1. ^ Committee on Food Chemicals Codex (2003). Food chemicals codex (5th ed. ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press. ISBN 9780309088664. 
  2. ^ Wood, Roger M. (2004). Analytical methods for food additives. Boca Raton: CRC Press. ISBN 1-85573-722-1. 
  3. ^ Ibero M, Eseverri JL, Barroso C, Botey J (1982). "Dyes, preservatives and salicylates in the induction of food intolerance and/or hypersensitivity in children". Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 10 (4): 263–8. PMID 6295125. 
  4. ^ Schultz-Ehrenburg U, Gilde O (1987). "[Results of studies in chronic urticaria with special reference to nutritional factors]". Z. Hautkr. 62 (in German). Suppl 1: 88–95. PMID 3442085. 
  5. ^ Titova ND (March 2011). "[Use of the granulocytic myeloperoxidase release reaction to diagnose food additive allergies]". Klin. Lab. Diagn. (in Russian) (3): 42–4. PMID 21584968. 
  6. ^ Yadav A, Kumar A, Tripathi A, Das M (March 2013). "Sunset yellow FCF, a permitted food dye, alters functional responses of splenocytes at non-cytotoxic dose". Toxicol. Lett. 217 (3): 197–204. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.12.016. PMID 23287708. 
  7. ^ Saxena B, Sharma S (January 2014). "Serological changes induced by blend of sunset yellow, metanil yellow and tartrazine in swiss albino rat, rattus norvegicus". Toxicol Int 21 (1): 65–8. doi:10.4103/0971-6580.128798. PMC 3989917. PMID 24748737. 
  8. ^ BBC Parents warned of additives link 6 September 2007
  9. ^ BBC Europe-wide food colour ban call 10 April 2008
  10. ^ FSA Board discusses colours advice 10 April 2008
  11. ^ "Food additives". CBC News. 29 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2013-09-09. 
  12. ^ a b Meikle, James (11 August 2008). "EU plans warning labels on artificial colours". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  13. ^ BBC Ministers agree food colour ban 12 November 2008
  14. ^ McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. (November 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". Lancet 370 (9598): 1560–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3. PMID 17825405. 
  15. ^ "EFSA ::. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of Sunset Yellow FCF (E 110) as a food additive".  091113
  16. ^ "Group urges ban of 3 common dyes". CNN. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  17. ^ "Irn Bru unaffected by change in colouring rules.". BBC. 2011-09-09.