A Dozen Things to Know About the Dubious Food Coloring Called Yellow #5


flickr photo: matski_98

1. It has many names – Tartrazine, E102 , FD&C Yellow 5, C.I. 19140, or just plain Yellow 5.

2. Yellow #5 is a synthetic, water soluble, lemon yellow dye used as a food coloring.

3. A partial list of foods including Yellow #5: cotton candy, soft drinks, energy drinks, instant puddings, flavored tortilla chips such as Doritos, breakfast cereals, cake mixes, pastries, pudding powders, soups, sauces, flavored rices such as paella,  powdered drink mixes, sports drinks, ice cream, ice pops, candy, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, gelatins, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles, and pickles.

4. Yellow #5 is one of the cheapest synthetic colors available, and sold all over the world.

5. The more expensive, natural food colorings are turmeric (a spice) , annatto (tropical tree derivative), betacarotene (think carrots’ orange pigments), or malt color.

6. Various levels of allergic reactions and intolerance reactions have been caused by this food coloring, especially among asthmatics and people with aspirin intolerance.

7. Some studies have linked various immunologic responses to tartrazine ingestion, including anxiety, migraines, clinical depression, blurred vision, itching, general weakness, heatwaves, feeling of suffocation, purple skin patches, and sleep disturbance.

8. Despite mounting evidence, The FDA considers Yellow #5 a safe food coloring. Let it be noted that, in the past, the FDA banned the use of other food colorings. This, after research showed them to be carcinogenic.

9. A major study published in the UK in 2007 linked food colorings with hyperactive behavior in children. As a result, the FSA (UK’s FDA) has called manufacturers to voluntarily ban food colorings in their products. Most companies are obliging,  due to consumer pressure and FSA encouragement.

10. Consumer groups in the US, especially the Center for Science in the Public Interest, have called food colorings, and especially Yellow #5, the “Secret Shame” of Food Industry and Regulators. A ban from all foods is their request.

11. Yellow #5 may also be also found in vitamins, antacids, soaps, cosmetics, shampoos, moisturizers, and crayons.

12. Organic foods may also contain Yellow #5 or other food colorings, because the USDA considers a processed food organic if it as at least 95% organic by weight. Since food colorings are used in tiny amounts, a bran muffin with a touch of artificial yellow is still considered organic.

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  • Nat

    Yellow 5 in shampoo has also given me in a skin rash of small white pimples around my neck and chest. It also creates a rash on my hands that peels the skin off. Never nice. The stuff is wicked dangerous for me!

  • Lynne

    Hives all over abdominal area after drinking Crystal Light lemonade. All due to yellow #5 according to my allergist!

  • DwayneCotton

    dose yellow no#5 has any pork products in it?

  • http://whyyellowfive.tumblr.com/ Swissjar

    I am compiling a list of products that contain Y5.  Please visit my blog to post photos of products containing Y5 in them.  I did this because my daughter has a severe Y5 allergy and want to compile a comprehensive list.   http://whyyellowfive.tumblr.com/

  • Bill

    My penis fell off after consuming some pickles with Yellow 5 in them. First it started to itch, and when I reached to scratch it, I scratched my penis off. I’m gonna sue. Join me!