Food additives

General Information

The Azorubine (carmoisine, E122 food additive) belongs to the group of azo colorants - synthetic colorants of red tints. The chemical formula of the E122 additive: C20H12N2Na2O7S2. Azorubine belongs to coal tar derivatives. The E122 food coloring is usually supplied in the form of edetate disodium which is a powder of a red to dark maroon color. The E122 additive can be used for coloring products that are heat-treated after fermentation. E122 food coloring has good luminosity resistance.

Influence on the body


As a result of numerous studies of the E122 food additive, many possible negative effects on the human body were revealed. Consumption of carmoisine in food may lead to allergic reactions in the form of skin rashes. People suffering from bronchial asthma and intolerance to anti-inflammatory medications and fever relievers (aspirin) should be especially careful while consuming products containing the E122 colorant. Recent studies conducted by the University of Southampton on behalf of the UK Government Food Standards Agency (FSA) have shown that consumption of products containing the E122  additive leads to increased hyperactivity and reduced concentration in children.

The World Health Organization, together with FAO, has set the maximum daily intake of Azorubine at 4 mg per 1 kg of body weight.


Due to its synthetic origin, the E122 additive is not characteristic of living organisms. There is no scientific evidence of any benefits of Azorubine at the moment.


In the food industry, the E122 additive is used for coloring products in red tints. The most common the E122 additive can be found in jams, syrups, marmalades, confectionery products, beverages and juices of red color. Quite often, the E122 color is used in mixtures with other colors to give products complex colors (green, brown, purple, etc.).

Besides the food industry, Azorubine (E122 colorant) is used in cosmetology and perfumery.


As a result of research on food additives, it was decided to ban the use of six colorants in the UK since 2010. The ban also included the E122 additive.

The E122 colorant was also banned in Japan, Canada, Norway, Austria, Sweden and the United States. In some countries, the E122 additive is classified as a carcinogen, which increases the likelihood of cancer. The E122 food coloring additive is allowed for use in the food industry of Russia, Ukraine and some EU countries.