Sunset Yellow is an azo dye used as artificial food colouring with E number E110, and in drugs and cosmetics. It is also known as A.F. Yellow #6, Acid Yellow tra, Sunset Yellow FCF, Certolake Sunset Yellow, C.I. Food Yellow 3, Edicol Supra Yellow FC, C.I. 53907, Orange Pal, Sun Yellow, 1351 Yellow, 1899 Yellow, FD&C Yellow #6, and Yellow Sun. It has the appearance of orange-red crystallic powder, decomposing at about 390 °C, well-soluble in water (50-100 mg/ml at 24 °C).
Sunset Yellow is most commonly used as a disodium salt of 1-p-sulfophenylazo-2-naphthol-6-sulfonic acid, however both the potassium and calcium salts are also used, if to a much lesser degree.
Sunset Yellow is a sulfonated version of Sudan I, which is frequently present in it as an impurity. Sunset Yellow itself may be responsible for causing an allergic reaction in people with an aspirin intolerance, resulting in various symptoms including gastric upset, vomiting, nettle rash (urticaria) and swelling of the skin (angioedema). The colouring has also been linked (although inconclusively) to hyperactivity in young children. As a result of these problems, there have been repeated calls for the total withdrawal of Sunset Yellow from food use.
Sunset Yellow is often used in conjunction with E123, Amaranth, in order to produce a brown colouring in both chocolates and caramel.
06-09-2007 The British Food Standards Agency revised advice on certain artificial food colors, including E110
Professor Jim Stevenson from Southampton University, and author of the report, said: ‘This has been a major study investigating an important area of research. The results suggest that consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours and sodium benzoate preservative are associated with increases in hyperactive behaviour in children.
‘However, parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of food will prevent hyperactive disorders. We know that many other influences are at work but this at least is one a child can avoid.’
This was the mix used in the research:
* Sunset yellow (E110) * Quinoline yellow (E104) * Carmoisine (E122) * Allura red (E129) * Sodium benzoate (E211)
Products which contain Sunset Yellow:
- Nestlé Smarties
- Doritos (Tangy Cheese)
- Cadbury's Creme Egg
- Blackthorn dry cider (Gaymers Cider Company)