What is tartrazine and what does it do?

Tartrazine is an artificial synthetic food dye found in food, drink, cosmetics and even medicinal products. It is an ingredient that is lemon yellow and it can be mixed with blue colouring to make different shades of green. It is also labelled food additive E102 and it may appear on food labels with either one of these two names.

There have been many studies done on it and there are varying opinions of this colourant. Like many ingredients that have been used for human consumption, it is not considered dangerous unless overexposure occurs. Unfortunately, it is easily found in many different products including and perhaps even more so, in children’s products as it is very common in sweets and confectionery. The rising use of tartrazine means rising exposure to this chemical and this is where the problem comes in, as it leads to more adverse reactions in sensitive individuals, which is estimated to be 1 in 10 000.

Research has been done on this food colouring as it is an integral part of the food industry. Results, on this matter vary and also legislative approach; while the FDA in America has not banned its use, there are countries in Europe such as Norway, where using this colouring in food products is illegal because of its harmful effects.

One might ask, what are its effects?

Some of the adverse reactions noted from tartrazine include urticaria (hives), angioedema, asthma, atopic dermatitis, and food intolerance. However further investigation is necessary on this matter as one needs to take various factors into account as well as the fact that exposure to tartrazine usually comes with other chemicals and colourants. Hence, establishing a clear correlation between tartrazine in isolation and its adverse reaction might be challenging.

Yet with rising chemical exposure all around us. Regulations in the US and other countries in Europe have agreed that disclosure of this ingredient on labels is necessary to allow tartrazine sensitive people to avoid it.

At Zinplex, we believe that when it comes to little ones and supplementation, one needs to take this ingredient into account and avoid it if possible. Our products can be taken from three months old, and for us, it is important to minimize chemical exposure in our children. Their immune system is developing and more often than not we have not discovered our children’s allergies or sensitivity to foods, let alone chemicals. Hence why our Junior immune range is tartrazine-free. It gives us all a little peace of mind and makes the product just a little safer for consumption, especially at that crucial development point, which is the first year of life.