Brown FK

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Brown FK, also called Kipper Brown, Chocolate Brown FK, and C.I. Food Brown 1, is a brown mixture of six synthetic azo dyes, with addition of sodium chloride, and/or sodium sulfate. It is very soluble in water. Its CAS number is 8062-14-4. When used as a food dye, its E number is E154.

It was used in smoked and cured mackerels and other fish and also in some cooked hams and other meats, and crisps. It gave a "healthy" colour that did not fade during cooking, nor leach.

It is one of the colourants that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of children, especially when in combination with benzoates.[citation needed] It can provoke allergic reactions in people sensitive to salicylates, and can intensify the symptoms of asthma.[1] It is banned in the European Union (but was allowed to colour kippers to produce orange kippers), Australia,[2] Austria, Canada, United States, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway[3] and Russia.[4]

In 2011, a review by the European Food Safety Authority concluded that Brown FK was no longer used and the Authority could not conclude on the safety of the substance due to the deficiencies in the available toxicity data. Therefore, it should not be included in the Union list of approved food additives.[5]


The dyes it contains are:

  • 4-(2,4-diaminophenylazo)benzenesulfonate, sodium salt
  • 4-(4,6-diamino-m-tolylazo)benzenesulfonate, sodium salt
  • 4,4'-(4,6-diamino-1,3-phenylenebisazo)-di(benzenesulfonate), disodium salt
  • 4,4'-(2,4-diamino-1,3-phenylenebisazo)-di(benzenesulfonate), disodium salt
  • 4,4'-(2,4-diamino-5-methyl-1,3-phenylenebisazo)-di(benzenesulfonate), disodium salt
  • 4,4',4''-(2,4-diaminobenzene-1,3,5-trisazo)-tri(benzenesulfonate), trisodium salt