Carmoisine is another synthetic food dye in the red to maroon colour range. It is in the azo dye group. Other names for Carmoisine include Azorubine, Food Red 3, Azorubin S, Brillantcarmoisin O, Acid Red 14, or C.I. 14720
As mentioned, Carmoisine is an azo dye. Other azo dyes include Allure Red, Sunset Yellow FCF, and Tartrazine. 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. 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.1 The reason they are so popular is that azo dyes are cheap to produce and are more stable than most natural food dyes.
Carmoisine is often used when the food is heat-treated.
While still in use in Europe, it is not on the lists of approved food colours in the U.S.2. It is also not approved in Canada.3
Common uses include:
- Baked Products
- Candy and Cough Drops
- Ice Cream
- Jelly Crystals
This list shows Australian products that contained artificial colours (including Carmoisine) as of 2008.
Health Issues / Side Effects:
Like other artifical food colours, Quinoline yellow may result in increased hyperactivity in children. It may also cause allergy symptoms in people who are allergic to aspirin. However, at least one report indicates that there is no conclusive evidence for either of these claims4.
Researching this post was a bit frustrating. So many brands refuse to list their ingredients on their web pages. As a result of that and the fact that I’m in a country (Canada) where Carmoisine is not permitted, my list of common uses does’t contain the links it normally would.
The E Number of Carmoisine is 122.