Volume 23 (6):466-508, 2019
Toxicity of tartrazine, curcumin and other food colorants; possible mechanism of adverse effects.
S Shakoor MS1,2*, F Ali PhD1,3 , A Ismail PhD1,4*, Z U Rahman PhD5, MR Sabran PhD1, N Mohtarrudin PhD6
1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. 2Sub Campus Burewala-Vehari, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. 3Biochemistry Department, University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana’a University, Yemen. 4Research Centre of Excellence, Nutrition and chronic non communicable diseases (RCDE NNCD); 5Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan. 6 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Shakoor S, Ali F, Ismail A, Rahman ZU, Sabran MR, Mohtarrudin N., Toxicity of tartrazine, curcumin and other food colorants;possible mechanism of adverse effects, Onl J Vet Res., 23 (6):466-508, 2019. Dyes in food products, drugs and cosmetics are used to maintain color and classified as artificial or natural with an estimated world production of ~8 million tons per year. The FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified safe colorants (GRAS) based on safe use in food and monitor GRAS continuously. If published evidence suggests that GRAS are mutagenic, they are delisted. For most additives, JECFA/FAO has allowed a classification of “Admissible Daily Intake Dose” (ADI), most frequently provisional but still requires additional evaluation, being genotoxic if dose is lower than ADI dose. Even certified colorants can elicit adverse reactions (WHO, 1991) and in foodstuffs can induce cancer. It appears that synthetic colorants are undesirable and efforts to use natural colorants due to consumer preference as well as legislative action have promoted delisting of registered synthetic dyes. Tartrazine (E120) is the 2nd most used food dye derived from coal tar and used in food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics but can be mutagenic and affect cell viability. Curcumin (E100) from the minced root of the herb Curcuma longa Linn. Is a double-edged sword, like other antioxidants with anticancer, antioxidant and pro-oxidant with possible but doubtful mutagenic properties. We review conflicting toxicity of natural versus synthetic food colorants with special emphasis on curcumin and tartrazine.
Keywords: food colors, toxicological effect, biochemical markers, potential mechanisms, oxidative stress.