Amaranth (Dye) | FD&C Red 2 | CI 16185 | E123

Amaranth is also known as FD&C Red No. 2,  Food Red 9, Acid Red 27, Azorubin S, or CI 16185.

Azo dyes are synthetic colors that contain an azo group (i.e. two nitrogen atoms linked by a double bond) in their molecular structure.

Functionality in Food

Amaranth is an artificial dark red to purple azo dye. It is also used to color cosmetics.


Amaranth is commonly used in fish roe, aperitif wine drinks and Americano.




It has been banned in the United States since 1976 by the FDA, because it is a suspected carcinogen.

Amaranth (E 123) is an azo dye authorised as a food additive in the EU and has previously been evaluated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) in 1972, 1975, 1978 and 1984, and by the EU Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) in 1976, 1979 and 1983. JECFA and the SCF established different Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) of 0-0.5 and 0-0.8 mg/kg bw/day Amaranth, respectively. In Europe, the EFSA has lowered the ADI for Amaranth in July 2010 to 0.15 mg/kg bw/day.

Click here to read the scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of Amaranth (E 123) as a food additive.


Click here to find suppliers of Amaranth dye.



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Ria Van Hoef

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