Food Allergy to Tartrazine

Tartrazine is the food additive known as FD&C Yellow No. 5. Despite safety testing for this additive, some people have experienced a food allergy to tartrazine. Itching and hives are the symptoms most commonly seen in people who are senstive to this additive. Since 1980 (for drugs taken orally) and 1981 (for foods), the FDA has required all products containing tartrazine to list it on the label so sensitive consumers can avoid it.

An Overview of Food Allergy to Tartrazine

Over the years, people have reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adverse reactions to certain food additives, including aspartame (a sweetener), monosodium glutamate (a flavor enhancer), sulfur-based preservatives, and tartrazine, also known as FD&C Yellow No. 5 (a food color). The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires the FDA to ensure the safety of all substances added to foods, but additives can sometimes cause problems in people with certain health conditions.
 
Color additives must go through the same safety approval process as food additives. But one color in particular, FD&C Yellow No. 5 (listed as tartrazine on medicine labels), has been known to prompt itching or hives in a small number of people.
 
Since 1980 (for drugs taken orally) and 1981 (for foods), the FDA has required all products containing Yellow No. 5 to list it on the labels so sensitive consumers can avoid it. (As of May 8, 1993, food labels must list all certified colors as part of the requirements of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.)
 
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