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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Natural Dyes and Sythetic Dyes


Clothing, bags, shoes, hair, food and drinks are some of the things around us that have a variety of beautiful colors who see it interested to have it. But most of us don't know and don't want to know about the type of dyes used on these objects, is it safe for health and how it effects if these dyes enter our bodies. Therefore, here is the information about coloring substances, especially in food.

In general, coloring agents are divided into 2 types namely natural dyes that mostly safe and synthetic dyes, most of which are dangerous if consumed.

Natural dyes

Natural dyes are dyes derived from plant extracts (such as leaves, flowers, seeds), animals and minerals that have been used since ancient times so that it has been recognized that it is safe to enter the body. Natural dyes derived from plants have a variety of colors produced, this is influenced by several factors, such as plant species, plant age, soil, time of harvest and other factors. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States classifies natural dyes into a class of dyes that do not need certification or are considered safe. The types of natural dyes that are widely used in the food industry include dyes from plant origin, such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, chlorophyll and curcumin.

Based on the source, natural dyes are divided into:
1. Natural coloring
agents derived from plants, such as: anthocyanin, carotenoids, betalains, chlorophyll, and curcumin.
2. Natural coloring agents derived from microbial activity, such as: coloring agents from Monascus sp activities, namely angkak coloring and coloring agents from algae activity.
3. Natural coloring agents derived from animals and insects, such as Cochineal and heme dyes.
Based on the components of the coloring agent, natural dyes can be divided into 5 groups, namely:
a. Carotenoids: isoprenoid and its derivatives.
b. Chlorophyll and heme compounds: porphyrin pigments.
c. Anthocyanin: 2-phenylbenzopyrylium and its derivatives.
d. Other plant dyes: betalains, cochineal, riboflavin and curcumin.
e. Melanoidin and caramel: formed during the heating and storage process.
The advantage in using natural dyes is the absence of side effects for health. In addition, some natural dyes can also act as flavoring agents, antimicrobial substances, and antioxidants. However, the use of natural dyes compared to synthetic dyes has drawbacks, namely its coloring is weak, less stable in various conditions, applications are less extensive and tend to be more expensive.

Synthetic Dyes

Because of the disadvantages of natural dyes, some manufacturers choose to use synthetic dyes. Synthetic dyes are dyes derived from chemicals, which most cannot be used as food coloring because it can cause health problems, especially liver function in our body.
The process of making synthetic dyes is usually through the addition of sulfuric acid or nitric acid which is often contaminated by arsenic or other heavy metals that are toxic. In making organic dyes before reaching the final product, must go through an intermediate compound that is sometimes dangerous and often left behind in the final result, or in the form of new compounds that are dangerous. For dyes that are considered safe, it is determined that the arsenic content should not be more than 0,00014 percent and lead should not be more than 0.001 percent, while other heavy metals should not be present.
The lack of knowledge of producers regarding dyes for food ingredients, causing misappropriations in the use of synthetic dyes that should be used for non-food ingredients in food. This is compounded by the many profits obtained by producers who use synthetic dyes (the price of synthetic dyes is cheaper than natural dyes). This really endangers the health of consumers, especially children who love colorful foodstuffs.
Examples of synthetic dyes used include indigotene, allura red, fast green, tartrazine.
There are two kinds of solubility of synthetic dyes, namely:
1. Dyes
It is a water-soluble dye and is traded in the form of granules, liquids, mixtures of colors and pastes. Usually used to color carbonated drinks, soft drinks, breads, dairy products, sausage wrappers, and others.
2. Lakes
Is a pigment made through the process of deposition of dye absorption in the base material, commonly used in coating tablets, a mixture of cookie dough, cake and donuts.
The difference between natural coloring and synthetic coloring
Natural and synthetic coloring agents are used to give more attractive colors to food. Usually people use natural dyes because they are safer to consume than synthetic coloring agents. Natural ingredients have no side effects or negative effects in the long run. The synthetic coloring was chosen because it has several advantages compared to natural dyes. The following table shows the differences between the two types of dyes.
Table of Differences between natural and
synthetic dyes 
Natural Dyes Synthetic Dyes
Safer for consumption. Sometimes it has certain negative effects.
The resulting color is less stable, easily changed by the influence of certain acidity levels. Can restore the original color, color stability is higher, durable, and can protect vitamins or other food substances that are sensitive to light during storage.
To get a good color a large amount of coloring material is needed. Practical and economical.
Color diversity is limited. The resulting color is more diverse.
The level of color uniformity is not good. Better color uniformity.
Sometimes it gives a rather bad taste and aroma. Usually does not produce bad taste and aroma.

Negative effects of consuming synthetic dyes
Hyperactivity is a condition when children have difficulty focusing and controlling their behavior.

In November 2007, a study published in the leading medical journal Lancet revealed that some food coloring agents increase the level of hyperactivity of children aged 3-9 years. Children who consume foods that contain artificial coloring for years are more at risk of showing signs of hyperactivity. Aside from the risk of hyperactivity, a very small group of the pediatric population (around 0.1%) also experiences other side effects such as: rashes, nausea, asthma, dizziness and fainting.


Here are some popular types of artificial dyes and their side effects: 

1. Tartrazine (E102 or Yellow 5)
Tartrazine is a yellow dye that is widely used in food and medicine.
In addition to potentially increasing children's hyperactivity, in about 1- 10 out of ten thousand people, tartrazine causes direct side effects such as urticaria (skin rash), rhinitis (runny nose), asthma, purpura (skin bruising) and systemic anaphylaxis (shock). This intolerance appears to be more common in people with asthma or in people who are sensitive to aspirin.

2.Sunset Yellow (E110, Orange Yellow S or Yellow 6)
Sunset Yellow is a colorant that can be found in foods such as orange juice, ice cream, canned fish, cheese, jelly, sodas and many medicines. For a small group of individuals, consumption of this additive dye can cause urticaria, rhinitis, allergies, hyperactivity, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting.

In several scientific studies, this substance has been linked to an increased incidence of tumors in animals and chromosomal damage, but the levels of this substance consumption in these studies were much higher than that consumed by humans. A World Health Organization (WHO) study found no evidence of increased tumor incidence in both the short and long term due to consumption of Sunset Yellow.

3. Ponceau 4R (E124 or SX Purple)
Ponceau 4R is a red liver dye used in a variety of products, including jams, cakes, jelly and soft drinks.
In addition to the potential to trigger hyperactivity in children, Ponceau 4R is considered carcinogenic (cancer causing) in several countries, including the United States, Norway, and Finland. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2000 has seized Chinese-made candy and food containing Ponceau 4R. This additive dye can also increase the absorption of aluminum so that it exceeds the tolerance limit.

4.Allura Red (E129)
Allura Red is an orange red synthetic dye that is widely used in candy and beverages.
Allura Red is already banned in many other countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria and Norway.

A study shows that hypersensitivity reactions occur in 15% of people who consume Allura Red. In the study, 52 participants who had had hives or skin rashes for four weeks or more were enrolled in a diet completely devoid of Allura Red and other foods known to cause rashes or hives. After three weeks of no symptoms, the participants were again given foods containing Allura Red and monitored. Of these, 15% returned to show symptoms of a rash or itching.

5. Quinoline Yellow (E104)
This yellow food coloring is used in products such as ice cream and energy drinks.
This substance is already banned in many countries including Australia, America, Japan and Norway because it is thought to increase the risk of hyperactivity and asthma attacks.

Translate ini.

The ways that can be done to avoid the use of artificial dyes in food products are as follows:
1. Whenever you buy a food product, read the type and amount of dye used in the product.
2. Pay attention to the label on each product packaging. Make sure that the label contains a permit from the Food and Drug Administration from your country. Or if the product is the product of a home industry, it must have a registration number
3. For food products that are not specially packaged, you should choose foods or drinks whose colors are not too flashy, because it is possible that these colors come from non-food grade dyes such as textile dyes.


This post is a translation of a previous post from Indonesian to English

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