The regulations governing the use of artificial food dyes differ significantly around the world. The approach to artificial purple dye, typically a blend of Red 3 (Erythrosine) and Blue 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF), varies across countries. While these dyes are permitted in the United States, other countries adopt stricter regulations or have outright bans on them.
European Union: A Preventive Approach
The European Union (EU) has been leading in stricter regulations on artificial food dyes. This stems from their commitment to the "precautionary principle", which dictates that if a substance has the potential for harmful effects, protective action may be taken despite scientific uncertainty.
In the EU, Brilliant Blue FCF (Blue 1) is allowed for use in food, but its usage must comply with specific concentration limits. However, Erythrosine (Red 3) is significantly restricted. It is permitted only in a few foodstuffs, such as cocktail and candied cherries, Bigarreaux cherries, and breakfast cereals containing processed cereal-based flakes and extruded or expanded cereals.
United Kingdom: Labeling and Public Awareness
Following the "Southampton Study" in 2007, the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) advised food manufacturers to voluntarily phase out the use of several food dyes by the end of 2009. The study linked artificial food dyes, including Blue 1, to hyperactivity in children.
Though not a legal requirement, this move has led many manufacturers to switch to natural alternatives or remove colorings altogether. Foods that still contain these artificial dyes must carry a warning label indicating that they "may have effects on activity and attention in children".
Australia and New Zealand: Permitted but Controlled
Australia and New Zealand have a shared food standards system under Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). In these countries, both Erythrosine (Red 3) and Brilliant Blue FCF (Blue 1) are permitted food colorings. However, their use is governed by strict maximum levels in specific food categories to ensure safety.
Japan: Strict Regulatory Measures
Japan is known for its strict food safety regulations. While Brilliant Blue FCF (Blue 1) is permitted as a food additive, Erythrosine (Red 3) is not approved for general use. It can only be used in certain prescribed foods and within a set maximum amount.
Regulations on artificial purple food dye ingredients differ worldwide due to varying attitudes towards food safety, consumer protection, and public health concerns. Regardless of geographical location, it's essential for consumers to remain informed about the potential health implications of artificial food colorings.