You are here

Toxicity of tartrazine

Scientific review report

1 February 2014

Book pagination


How to access a pdf document

*Large file warning: Attempting to open large files over the Internet within the browser window may cause problems. It is strongly recommended you download this document to your own computer and open from there.

Includes additional reference material consulted but not cited herein.

Ardern KD & Ram FS (2001) Tartrazine exclusion for allergic asthma [Review]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (Not possible to provide firm conclusions as to the effects of tartrazine on asthma control)

Arnold LE, Lofthouse N & Hurt E. (2012) Artificial food colors and attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms: conclusions to dye for. Neurotherapeutics. 9: 599-609.

Bartle WR (1976) Tartrazine-containing drugs. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 115: 332-333.

Borzelleca, J.F., Hallagan, J.B. (1988a) Chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity studies of FD & C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) in rats. Food Chem. Toxicol. 26: 179-187.

Borzelleca, J.F., Hallagan, J.B. (1988b). A chronic toxicity/carcinogenicity study of FD & C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) in mice. Food Chem. Toxicol. 26: 189-194.

Burrows A. Palette of our palates: a brief history of food coloring and its regulation. (2009) Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 8:394-408.

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI0; 2008). Petition to Ban the Use of Yellow 5 and Other Food Dyes, in the Interim to Require a Warning on Foods Containing These Dyes, to Correct the Information the Food and Drug Administration Gives to Consumers on the Impact of These Dyes on the Behavior of Some Children, and to Require Neurotoxicity Testing of New Food Additives and Food Colors. Available at: Materials/FoodAdvisoryCommittee/UCM248005.pdf (pdf,3.95Mb)*.

Collins, T.F., Black, T.N., Brown, L.H., Bulhack, P. (1990) Study of the teratogenic potential of FD & C Yellow No. 5 when given by gavage to rats. Food Chem. Toxicol. 28, 821-827.

Collins, T.F., Black, T.N., O’Donnell Jr., M.W., Bulhack, P. (1992) Study of the teratogenic potential of FD & C yellow No. 5 when given in drinking-water. Food Chem. Toxicol. 30: 263-268.

Conners CK, Goyette CH, Southwick DA. (1976) Food additives and hyperkinesis: preliminary report of a double-blind crossover experiment. Psychopharmacol Bull. 12:10-11.

Desmond RE & Trautlein JJ. (1981) Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No 5) anaphylaxis: a case report. Ann Allergy. 46: 81-82.

Dipalma JR. (1990) Tartrazine sensitivity. Am Fam Physician. 42: 1347-1350.

Directive 2008/128/EC

Durnev, A.D., Oreshchenko, A.V., Kulakova, A.V., Beresten, N.F. (1995) Analysis of cytogenetic activity of food dyes. Vopr. Med. Khim. 41: 50-53.

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to food (ANS; 2009) Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of tartrazine (E 102) on request from the European Commission. EFSA Journal. 7: 1331-1383. Available online:

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA; 2010) Scientific Opinion on the appropriateness of the food azo-colours Tartrazine (E 102), Sunset Yellow FCF (E 110), Carmoisine (E 122), Amaranth (E 123), Ponceau 4R (E 124), Allura Red AC (E 129), Brilliant Black BN (E 151), Brown FK (E 154), Brown HT (E 155) and Litholrubine BK (E 180) for inclusion in the list of food ingredients set up in Annex IIIa of Directive 2000/13/EC. EFSA Journal 8:1778. Available online:

Elhkim M, Heraud F et al. (2007) New considerations regarding the risk assessment on tartrazine. An updated toxicological assessment, intolerance reactions and maxiumum theoretical daily intake in France. Regulatory Tox Pharmacol. 47: 308-316.

FDA/CFSAN (2011) Interim Toxicology Review. Available online. Memorandum (pdf,5.30Mb)*

Feingold BF. (1975) Hyperkinesis and learning disabilities linked to artificial food flavors and colours. Am J Nurs. 75: 797-803.

Gao Y, Li c, Huaxian J-S et al. (2011) Effect of food azo dye tartrazine on learning and memory functions in mice and rats, and the possible mechanisms involved. J Food Sci. 76:2011-2015.

Giri, A.K., Das, S.K., Talukder, G., Sharma, A., 1990. Sister chromatid exchange and chromosome aberrations induced by curcumin and tartrazine on mammalian cells in vivo. Cytobios 62, 111-117.

Himri I, Bellahcen S et al. (2011) A 90-day oral toxicity study of tartrazine, a synthetic food dye, in Wistar rats. Int J Pharmacy & Pharmac Sci. 3: 159-169.

Ishidate, M., Sofuni, J., Yoshikawa, K., 1981. Chromosomal aberration tests in vitro as a primary screening tool for environmental mutagens and/or carcinogens. Gann Monogr. Cancer Res. 27, 95-108.

Ishidate, M., Sofuni, T., Yoshikawa, K., Hayashi, M., Nohmi, T., Sawada, M., Matsuka, A., 1984. Primary mutagenicity screening of food additives currently used in Japan. Food Chem. Toxic. 22: 623-636.

JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives; 1964) Specifications for identity purity and toxicological evaluation of food colours in FAO nutrition. Meetings Report Series No 38B, WHO, Geneva.

JECFA (NMRS 38/TRS 309-JECFA 8/14, FAS 66.25/NMRS 38B-JECFA 8/88. 0-7.5. FU. R)

Kanarek RB. (2012) Artificial food dyes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nutrition Rev. 69: 385-391.

Khera KS & Munro IC (1979) A review of the specifications and toxicity of synthetic food colors permitted in Canada. CRC Critical Review in Toxicology. 6: 81-133.

Levy F, Dumbrell S, Hobbs G et al. (1978) Hyperkinesis and diet: a double-blind crossover trial with a tartrazine challenge. Med J Australia. 1: 61-64.

Lockey SD (1959) Allergic reactions due to FD&C Yellow No 5, tartrazine, an aniline dye used as a colouring and identifying agent in various steroids. Ann Allergy. 17: 719-721. NO ABSTRACT AVAILABLE

McCann D et al. (2007) Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year old and 8/9-yearold children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet. 9598: 1560-1567.

Maekawa, A., Matsuoka, C., Onodera, H., Tanigawa, H., Furuta, K., Kanno, J., Jang, J.J., Hayashi, Y., Ogiu, T., 1987. Lack of carcinogenicity of tartrazine (FD & C Yellow No. 5) in the F344 rat. Food Chem. Toxicol. 25: 891-896.

MacCara ME (1982) Therapeutic Review: Tartrazine: a potentially hazardous dye in Canadian drugs. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 126: 910-914.

Moutinho, ILD, Bertges LC & Assis RVC. (2007) Prolonged use of the food dye tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No 5) and its effects on the gastric mucosa of Wistar rats. Braz J Biol. 67: 141-145.

Nordic Council of Ministers (2002) Food additives in Europe. In TemaNord, pp 53-60. (Cited by Elhkim M, Heraud F et al., 2007).

Pestana S, Moreira M & Olej B (2010) Safety of ingestion of yellow TARTRAZINE by double-blind placebo controlled challenge in 26 atopic adults. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr) 38: 142146.

Race S. (2012) Tartrazine (FD&C Yellow no 5). Tigmor Books.

Rafii F, Hall JD & Cerniglia CE (1997) Mutagenicity of azo dyes used in foods, drugs and cosmetics before and after reduction by Clostridium sp. From the human intestinal tract. Food Chem Toxicol. 35: 897-901.

Sasaki, Y.F., Kawaguchi, S., Kamaya, A., Ohshita, M., Kabasawa, K., Iwama, K., Taniguchi, K., Tsuda, S. (2002) The comet assay with 8 mouse organs: results with 39 currently used food additives. Mutat. Res. 59: 103-119.

Schab DW & Trinh NT. (2004) Do artificial food colours promote hyperactivity in children with hyperactive syndromes? A meta-analysis of double-blind placebo-controlled trials. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 25: 423-434.

Settipane GA (1977) Tartrazine sensitivity and aspirin intolerance. Comprehensive therapy. 3: 15-20.

Speer F, Denison TR, Baptist IE: (1981) Aspirin allergy. Ann Allergy. 46:123-126

Stevens JJ, Kuczek T, Burgess JR et al. (2013) Mechanisms of behavioural, atopic and other reactions to artificial food colors in children. Nutrition Rev. 71: 268-281.

Tanaka, T. (2006) Reproductive and neurobehavioural toxicity study of tartrazine administered to mice in the diet. Food Chem. Toxicol. 44: 179-187.

Tse CST & Bernstein IL (1982) Adverse reactions to tartrazine. Hosp Formul. 17: 1635-1637.

Watson R. (2008) European agency rejects links between hyperactivity and food additives. BMJ. 336: 687.

Watabe T, ozawa N, Kobayashi F et al. (1980) Reduction of suphonated water-soluble azo dyes by microorganism from human feces. Food Cosmet. Toxicol. 18: 349-352.

Young E. (1997) Prevalence of intolerance to food additivies. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 4: 111-114.

Book pagination