Food manufacturers and own label retailers must ensure that food dyes and colorants in products meet strict legal limits for their destination markets. Recent headlines recommending further safety tests for six common food dyes highlight the close links between consumer safety and the consumption of food colorants.


Following the release of new scientific data, food safety experts at EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, reviewed six chemically related colors and have recommended that new tests be carried out to address uncertainties related to possible genotoxicity (the ability of a substance to damage DNA) of Allura Red AC. The six ‘sulphonated mono azo dyes’, also known as the ‘Southampton Six’ are:

  • Allura Red AC (E129)

  • Amaranth (E123)

  • Ponceau 4R (E124)

  • Sunset Yellow FCF (E110)

  • Tartrazine (E102)

  • Azorubine/Carmoisine (E122)

EFSA’s report[1], and the work of the Panel of Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel), does not recommend any revision to the existing acceptable daily intake (ADI) levels for these food dyes. However, their caution reinforces the need for industry to conduct timely and effective programs of chemical and food colorant testing. This will ensure that ADIs are not breached and consumers are protected.

SGS can provide testing capabilities for these and other food colorants in many producing as well as importing countries through our global network of accredited food laboratories. Tests are conducted based on national and international regulations using best suited technology from Thin Layer Chromatography to HPLC with MS/MS detection. Independent expertise, delivered locally improves manufacturer, processor and retailer access to domestic and international markets.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Buckley
Global Food Marketing Manager

291 Fairfield Ave,

Fairfield, NJ 07004, USA
+1 973 461 1498



SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.