Lack of genotoxicity in vivo for food color additive Allura Red AC

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Jul;105:308-314. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.04.037. Epub 2017 Apr 27.


Allura Red AC is an approved food color additive internationally with INS number 129, in the United States as food color subject to batch certification "Food, Drug, and Cosmetic" (FD&C) Red No. 40, and in Europe as food color additive with E number 129. In their evaluation of the color (2013), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expressed concerns of potential genotoxicity, based primarily on one genotoxicity study that was not conducted according to Guidelines. The present in vivo genotoxicity study was conducted according to OECD Guidelines in response to EFSA's request for additional data. The animal species and strain, and the tissues examined were selected specifically to address the previously reported findings. The results show clear absence of genotoxic activity for Allura Red AC, in the bone marrow micronucleus assay and the Comet assay in the liver, stomach, and colon. These data addressed EFSA's concerns for genotoxicity. The Joint WHO/FAO Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) (2016) also reviewed the study and concluded that there is no genotoxicity concern for Allura Red AC. Negative findings in parallel genotoxicity studies on Tartrazine and Ponceau 4R (published separately) are consistent with lack of genotoxicity for azo dyes used as food colors.

Keywords: Allura Red AC; E129; FD&C Red no. 40; Food color; Genotoxicity; INS 129.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azo Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Food Coloring Agents / pharmacology*
  • Food Safety
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Micronucleus Tests


  • Azo Compounds
  • Food Coloring Agents
  • Allura Red AC Dye