Quinoline yellow


Quinoline Yellow is a food color that gives the product a greenish-yellow shade (for example, jellies, lozenges and candies that relieve sore throat, syrups, isotonic drinks and lollies). It is labeled under the name E104 on labels. Unfortunately, it belongs to the most harmful food dyes that are currently added to food (among others, next to cochineal red, tartrazine, orange yellows and amaranth). 

Quinoline Yellow may be produced as a synthetic dye or derived from animals. The daily intake of this food color, which should not harm the health, is considered to be 0.5 mg of substance per 1 kg of body weight. This means that for children, a dose of 10 mg can be very dangerous. Quinoline yellow is added to ice cream, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, jellies and even drops for relieving sore throat and cough. 


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Research on E104 

The E104 dye was tested jointly by FAO and WHO in 1975, 1978 and 1984. An acceptable daily dose was found to be from 0 to 10 mg per 1 kg of body weight. This position was shared by the European Union in 1984. However, research carried out by international and EU institutions did not take into account the potential toxic and carcinogenic impact of this dye. Studies suggesting harmful effects of quinoline yellow have only been published in 2007 by a team of scientists led by McCann. There have also been reports of the fact that E104 dye can cause hyperactivity in children (ADHD) aged 8-9 years. This led to a change in the position regarding the acceptable daily intake dose, which was set at 0.5 mg / 1 kg body weight. The packaging of products that contain quinoline yellow must contain information including the name of the dye or its number along with a warning that this ingredient may have a detrimental effect on the activity and attention of children. These changes have been in force since June 1, 2013. Quinoline Yellow is classified as a Southampton dye. 

E104 as a carcinogen 

According to the standards of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, quinoline yellow is not a carcinogen. Some studies, however, indicate that E104 may be one of the factors that cause liver cancer. Quinoline yellow as a carcinogen may have the ability to cause mutation of genetic material. 

Quinoline Yellow as an allergen 

In some people, quinoline yellow may cause allergy resulting in urticaria, rash, redness of the skin and even anaphylaxis. Products containing this pigment should be avoided especially by people allergic to aspirin. In the light of current knowledge, quinoline yellow may also be a triggering factor for asthma. 

The influence of quinoline yellow on hyperactivity in children 

Quinoline yellow can cause excessive activity in children manifested by chatter, interruption of other people’s speech, impulsiveness, anxiety, hyperactivity and concentration problems. This has resulted in changes in EU regulations regarding the use of this dye. However, quinoline yellow is still added to foods, medicines and dietary supplements intended for children. There is therefore a risk that, if you consume several products containing E104, the acceptable daily intake will be exceeded. Quinoline Yellow is added, among others down 

– preparations containing vitamins (effervescent granules, etc.) 

– anti-colic drugs 

– lollipops 

– sweets 

– drinks 

Quinoline yellow is added to various food products to give them a more appetizing color. Manufacturers use acceptable doses, but the consumer has to control what and in what quantities and read the labels. Only in this way can it prevent excessive consumption of harmful dye, which is present in many products available on the Polish market. 

Forbidden dye 

Scientific reports on the potential risks associated with the consumption of quinoline yellow have led to the fact that in some countries its use in food has been banned. The food color marked with the E104 code can not be used in Japan and in the US, Canada, and since 2009 also in Great Britain. A similar ban was introduced in Australia, but it was abolished. 

A food dye, contrary to the name, is not suitable for consumption – at least in the case of allergy sufferers and children. Quinoline Yellow may harm some consumers and seriously, and anyone who consumes it may increase the risk of cancer. The yellow-green dye has been thoroughly tested, but this is not the end. Scientific projects are still being carried out to overcome doubts about the potential risks associated with the consumption of quinoline yellow. For now, there is no indication that the European Union will follow in the footsteps of Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Japan, so manufacturers can use it within the limits of established standards. While the quinoline yellow tint of candies and ice cream can be considered a certain standard in the production of highly processed food, its use in the production of medicines and dietary supplements, whose task is to support health and not harm it, has become absurd in the light of current knowledge. 


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Posted on: May 16, 2019

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