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Top 7 Artificial Food Colorants that are Bad For Your Health

Foods with attractive colors are very inviting to taste them, but artificial colorants used on these foods are very harmful to our health.

In a recent study conducted in India, they took 40 types of food items that are loved by most people which had artificial colorants in them. The study concluded that all the 40 samples to have a harmful effect on our health one way or another. Additionally, they also found out all of these foods contained Rhodamine B colorants which are banned. It also contained other 6 types of colorants.

Apart from Rhodamine B, the tested foods also had other harmful colorants such as Carmoisine, Brilliant Blue, Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow, Ponceau 4R, and Erythrosine. Colorants like Carmoisine, and Ponceau 4R are potential carcinogens. These colorants are banned in the United States and Canada.

Additionally, Brilliant Blue, Tartrazine, Sunset Yellow, and Erythrosine also invites cancer. In the United States if a food product contains tartrazine then it must be mentioned on the label. Colorants like Brilliant blue, Sunset Yellow, Erythrosine are banned in several countries. But all these harmful colorants are widely used in India for many food products.


It is used to give orange and yellow color to the foods, but this colorant brings forth allergy in several people. This colorant was found in 28 food products out of 40 samples taken for study. Some of these food items include bajji mix, dry red chili, mango and ginger pickles, candy varieties, coconut milk, biryani.

Sunset Yellow

This colorant was found in 17 of the samples taken for the study. These foods include kesari, jelabi, ice cream, fruit pickles.

Brilliant Blue

It is responsible for hyperactivity in kids. Additionally, it can affect chromosome, and lead to allergies. This colorant was found in 16 of the food samples.


Carmoisine gives the attractive red color to the foods. It will increase the toxicity in the food and leads to allergies. This type of colorant is found in 14 of the food samples taken for study. Some of these food items include chicken fries, rose milk, coconut candy, jelabi, laddu and many others.

Panceau 4R

Apart from being a strong carcinogen, this colorant can induce allergy, asthma, and swelling of body muscles. This colorant was found in 11 of food samples. Some the food items that contained this colorant include orange drinks, fruit pickles, and chocolates.


This colorant is also called as Red No 3. When this colorant was tested on animals it was found to induce thyroid tumor in them. This type of colorant is used in sweet pancakes, and peach pickles.

Among 40 food samples that are taken for the study, nearly 19 (47%) of them contained two or more of these colorants is the hard truth.