Sunset Yellow FCF
Sunset yellow FCF, also known as yellow dye #6, is used to give foods an orange-yellow colour.
Sunset yellow is looks like an orange-red powder.1 It is another azo dye, similar to tartrazine, and allura red. An azo dye is a chemical compound where two hydrocarbon groups are joined by two nitrogen atoms. The letters azo are derived from the french word for nitrogen, azote.
Azo dyes account for roughly 60 to 70% of all dyes used in the food and textile industries.2 The reason they are so popular is that azo dyes are cheap to produce and are more stable than most natural food dyes.
If you’re interested in the scientific chemical name, it is Disodium 6-hydroxy-5-(4-sulfonatophenylazo)-2-naphthalene-sulfonate. (Sunset yellow is much easier to pronounce).
The chemical formula is C16H10N2Na2O7S2
Sunset Yellow FCF is used in many different types of products, ranging from soft drinks to candies and snack foods. Specific products include:
If you have other examples of products that contain tartrazine, let me know by leaving a comment.
Health Issues / Side Effects:
There have been reports that Sunset Yellow may cause allergic or intolerance reactions in certain people, particularly those with a pre-existing sensitivity to aspirin. Other reports have linked it to increases in tumours, however, a review by the World Health Organization found no evidence of this (in either short or long term studies).3
If you have had personal experience with a tartrazine allergy, please leave us a comment.
So what does FCF stand for?
I’ve puzzled over that for a while. None of my sources seemed to provide an answer. Instead, there were just references to “Sunset Yellow FCF”.
It turns out that the answer might be very simple:
FCF = For Colouring Food
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Azo Dyes – www.food-info.net
- University of Guelph Food Safety Network