The risks of Tartrazine

Tartrazine, also referred to as E102,  is an artificial (synthetic) food dye. It is one of several azo food dyes that are made from petroleum products.

Artificial food dyes are used to make foods more aesthetically appealing from a visual standpoint. These dyes can be used to create colors not possible with natural products as well as to reinstate the original appearance of a food which may be lost in the production process. Artificial food dyes are also often cheaper and more accessible than natural food dyes.

It’s important to note that food dyes are present not only in foods but can be found in cosmetics and other products, and some absorption through the skin occurs.

Tartrazine has long been suspected of being the cause of many adverse reactions, though not all have been supported by research. Some suspected reactions include:

Angioedema (swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and neck caused by the release of histamine in an allergic reaction)
Atopic dermatitis (skin rashes related to allergies)
Food intolerances

Products containing tartrazine commonly include processed commercial foods that have an artificial yellow or green color, or that consumers expect to be brown or creamy looking.

Desserts and confectionery: ice cream, ice pops and popsicles, confectionery and hard candy (such as gummy bears, Peeps marshmallow treats, etc.), cotton candy, instant puddings and gelatin (such as Jell-O), cake mixes, pastries (such as Pillsbury pastries), custard powder, marzipan, biscuits, and cookies.
Beverages: soft drinks , energy and sports drinks, powdered drink mixes , fruit cordials, and flavored/mixed alcoholic beverages.
Snacks: flavored corn chips (such as Doritos, nachos, etc.), chewing gum, popcorn (both microwave and cinema-popped), and potato chips.
Condiments and spreads: jam, jelly (including mint jelly), marmalade, mustard, horseradish, pickles and processed sauces.
Other processed foods: cereal (such as corn flakes, muesli, etc.), instant or “cube” soups), rices (like paella, risotto, etc.) and noodles.