What is Brilliant Blue FCF (E133)?
Brilliant Blue FCF (also known as FD&C Blue No. 1 or E133) is a synthetic blue dye classified as an artificial food colourant. Brilliant Blue FCF is widely used in the food and beverage industry to impart an attractive bright blue colour to various food products such as candies, beverages, and baked goods. Its colouring purposes also extend to enhancing the appearances of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Purported Health Implications of Brilliant Blue FCF (E133)
While Brilliant Blue FCF is generally considered safe for consumption within established limits, there have been concerns about its potential health implications.
Allergic Reactions: Individuals who may be sensitive or allergic to Brilliant Blue FCF can experience adverse reactions such as skin rashes, itching, or gastrointestinal discomfort . It’s essential for individuals with known allergies or sensitivities to food dyes to remain cautious and check ingredient labels for the presence of Brilliant Blue FC.
Hyperactivity in Children: In the 1970s, the influence of synthetic food colours and flavourings in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was hypothesised . Current research suggests a potential association between consuming synthetic food colorings, including Brilliant Blue FCF, and hyperactivity in children, particularly those with ADHD . However, the evidence remains inconclusive, and further research is needed to establish a definitive connection.
Safety Concerns: Like many food additives, Brilliant Blue FCF is considered safe when consumed within established limits. However, excessive intake can potentially lead to health issues. Some studies have also raised questions about the potential long-term health effects of synthetic food colourants, including Brilliant Blue FCF. While these concerns are not conclusive, they underscore the importance of moderation and responsible consumption .
Recommendations for Safe Consumption:
In 2010 EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) advised a new Acceptable Daily Intake of Brilliant Blue FCF equal to or below 6 mg/kg body weight per day . To safely consume Brilliant Blue FCF and minimise potential health risks, consider the following recommendations:
Read Labels: Always check product labels for the presence of Brilliant Blue FCF (E133). This is especially important if you have known allergies or sensitivities. Familiarise yourself with identifying products containing E133.
Consume in Moderation: Consume products containing Brilliant Blue FCF in moderation. It is key to avoid excessive and unnecessary intake of products containing synthetic food colorings, especially if you or your family have a history of hyperactivity or allergies.
Prioritise Natural Alternatives: Consider choosing products that use natural food colourings or those that do not contain synthetic dyes. Natural alternatives, such as fruit and vegetable juices, can provide vibrant colours without any chemical additives.
Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you suspect you may be sensitive to Brilliant Blue FCF or experience adverse reactions after consumption, consult a healthcare professional for guidance and potential allergy testing.
Advocate for Transparency: Support initiatives that promote transparency in food labelling and advocate for stricter regulations on synthetic food colorings in your region.
Kobylewski, S., & Jacobson, M. F. (2012). Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks. Center for Science in the Public Interest. https://cspinet.org/resource/food-dyes-rainbow-risks
Nigg, J. T., Lewis, K., Edinger, T., & Falk, M. (2012). Meta-analysis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, restriction diet, and synthetic food color additives. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(1), 86-97.
McCann, D., Barrett, A., Cooper, A., Crumpler, D., Dalen, L., Grimshaw, K., ... & Stevenson, J. (2007). Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 370(9598), 1560-1567.
European Food Safety Authority. Re-evaluation of Brilliant Blue FCF (E 133) as a food additive [Internet]. European Food Safety Authority. 2010. Available from: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1853
We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources. There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.