Yellow "Sunset" (E110)

Brightly colored products and merchandise are more likely to attract the attention of shoppers, but there are many compounds that give them such an interesting color, and their content must be monitored.

Sunset Yellow is a color food additive, also called Orange Yellow S, E110, and is a synthetic water-soluble food color. It is most commonly used to impart a bright orange color to food products that are subject to heat treatment at high temperatures during production. Found in orange sauce, orange jelly, marzipan, swiss roll, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, sweets, hot chocolate sauce, soups, crackers, cheese sauce, canned fish and many medicines.

Food additive resistant not only to high temperatures, but also to acids and light. All these advantages, as well as a relatively cheap method of production, explain its frequent use.

Additive properties

Sunset yellow is an orange-red powder, belongs to azo dyes, similar to tartrazine and allure red. An azo dye is a chemical compound in which two hydrocarbon groups are connected by two nitrogen atoms.

Azo dyes make up 60-70% of the dyes used in the food and textile industries. The reason they are so popular is because azo dyes are cheap to produce and more stable than most natural food colorings.

Safety data

Color E110 is banned for use as a food additive in Sweden, Norway and Finland. In the UK in 2009, they proposed voluntarily phasing out several food colors, including Sunset Yellow, and provided guidance that could help other, safer colors achieve desired colors.

The European Food Safety Authority has declared food supplement E110 safe for health when used and has increased the allowable daily intake.

Use of E110

Sunset yellow is used as a food coloring especially in foods that must be exposed to high temperatures due to its heat stability. Sunny yellow is often used with E123 to produce a brown tint in chocolate and caramel.

Very often this dye is found in such products:

  • some types of jelly;
  • cheese sauce;
  • jams;
  • marmalade;
  • hot chocolate;
  • marzipan;
  • breadcrumbs.

Effects on human health

Confectionery such as cakes, sweets, drinks and ice cream tend to contain an additional dye (additive) in large quantities. These additional dyes are usually used by manufacturers to preserve the color of the product, which can change due to exposure to light, air, temperature and humidity. There have been studies evaluating the effects of solar yellow in food, one showing an association between the use of artificial colors and hyperactivity in children. Hyperactivity is a condition where a child has no control over being overly active in behavior and activities of daily living.

In November 2007, a study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that high levels of food coloring in food increased hyperactivity in children aged 3-9 years. Children who have been consuming products that contain artificial colors for many years are more at risk of developing signs of hyperactivity.

In addition to the risk of hyperactivity, some children (approximately 0.1%) reported other side effects such as rash, nausea, asthma, dizziness, and fainting.

Sunset yellow is a sulfonated derivative of the banned, carcinogenic Sudan I food coloring, traces of which were found in a quarter of batches of E110. (Partos, 2005)

In addition, the dye Sunny Yellow has been reported to provoke asthma attacks and adverse allergic reactions, especially in individuals with aspirin intolerance. Symptoms include stomach problems, nasal congestion, diarrhea, rashes, and hives. These reactions are rare and require further studies to confirm.

Sunset yellow dye is often used as a food supplement despite its possible side effects. The FDA does not prohibit the use of E110 in the US. However, in 2009, based on a series of studies, Sun Yellow and several other dyes were phased out in the UK (BBC News, 2008; FSA Colors advice, 2009). In addition, the presence of food coloring must be indicated on labels in most EU countries. (Meikle, 2008). Therefore, it is desirable to strive to limit the use of products and products that include E110.

  1. Smirnov, E. V. Food colorings: a reference book / E. V. Smirnov. - St. Petersburg: Profession, 2009. - 352 p.