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Toxicity of tartrazine
Scientific review report
2. Historical background in Australia
In 1983, in response to media reports and published papers, the then Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) recommended a ban on the use of tartrazine for oral ingestion due to potential hypersensitivity reactions. At its 109th meeting (1983/2), ADEC recommended that no new applications for products containing tartrazine should be accepted (Res No 2374B). Since that time it has been the policy of the TGA not to accept such products.
The restriction was not extended to topical or lipstick products because of the relative lack of absorption through the skin. At the time, there were no animal toxicity data on the subject. A detailed literature search failed to reveal any convincing clinical or scientific evidence to support a ban for topical products. The use in sunscreens and 'chapsticks' and the very low level of reported incidences of sensitivity added support to ADEC's decision.