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E122 is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU). It is used as a synthetic colouring agent in food and drink products, as well as in cosmetics.

The common names for E122 are azorubin and carmoisine.

E122 is a red, synthetic coal tar food colouring that is highly soluble in water. It tends to be used in fermented foods that require treatment by heat.

E122 is thought by some to worsen asthma and to cause allergic reactions in individuals allergic to aspirin (related info - aspirin in the news). When taken in combination with benzoates, E122 is also suspected of inducing hyperactivity in children. Individuals with intolerance to salicylates may find that they are intolerant to E122, due to the colouring being an azo dye.

E122 is banned in the United States, Sweden, Norway, and Austria.

Examples of food and drink products that sometimes include E122:

  • marzipan
  • sweets
  • jams
  • sauces
  • soups

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