Tartrazine is a commonly used dye to artificially color foods. Its use is allowed by Law, but manufacturers are required to inform the addition of this color by printing the following expression on the label: “This product contains tartrazine yellow”.

Studies conducted in the United Stated since the 1970’s show that this dye can rarely cause urticaria and angioedema (bumps). The urticaria and/or angioedema caused by this artificial color do not develop as a result of allergic mechanisms. In practice, this means that the onset of symptoms does not happen immediately after ingestion. Urticaria/ angioedema caused by the dye is dose-dependent, i.e., the higher the ingestion, the higher the chances of lesions development.

The diagnostic of patients who are intolerant to the color is provided by their clinical history and by their filling in a 24-hour diary, where the patient writes down everything he/she ingested within the 24 hours prior to a flare, including drugs. Check here: diary of flares

Treatment for these patients basically consists on removing the dye from diet, that is, avoid as much as possible the use of artificial / processed food containing tartrazine yellow. In some cases, using anti-histamines is required.

It is important to highlight that not all yellow-colored foods contain tartrazine, and that other color foods (e.g., green, red, orange, blue, purple) may have it. Therefore, reading labels is essential. We must remember that naturally colored foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can be eaten without restrictions.

Lista de alguns produtos que contém amarelo de tartrazina

Fanta maracujá Caldos de galinha e caldos de carne (marcas variadas) Geleias de uva (marcas variadas) CI19140
Fanta uva Sustagen sabor banana Johnson Bolinho Ana Maria INS 102
Schweppes Citrus e Citrus Light Cereais matinais coloridos (marcas variadas) Bolinhos e pudins prontos de baunilha Amarelo número 5 / Yellow 5
Aquarius Fresh Uva (Azul brilhante)   Gelatinas de tangerina, limão, laranja, abacaxi, uva E102
Del Valle Frut (uva, tangerina, citrus punch, limão)   Quindim de caixinha Oetker  
Energéticos BURN, Flying Horse   Balas de goma (marcas variadas)
Atenção: alguns fabricantes só escrevem "colorido artificialmente"
Bonafont Levíssima (laranja e limão)   Balas coloridas, Halls Menta e outras  
Chás em squinho (marcas variadas)   Gomas de mascar coloridas Trident mentos, citrus e outras marcas  
Alguns sabores de Gatorade   Chocolate granulado mesclado e cascas coloridas (marcas variadas)  
Sucos Tang      
Sucos Clight      
Sucos de uva, especialmente de garrafa (marcas variadas)      

A lista consta as marcas mais consumidas, mas não exclui outros produtos não citados.

Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives

Contributor: Paula Sian Lopes, Dermatologist, CRM 11196 – Brazil