104 Quinoline Yellow

Posted 19 Oct 2023
104 Quinoline Yellow

What is quinoline yellow, and where is it used?

Quinoline yellow, also known as E104, is a synthetic yellow food colouring agent commonly used in the food industry [1]. It belongs to the class of azo dyes and provides a yellow shade between pale yellow to yellow-brown to various food and beverage products. Quinoline yellow is utilised in a range of food applications, including confectionery, desserts, beverages, sauces, and processed foods [2]. Its intense yellow hue makes it a popular choice for enhancing the visual appeal of products.

Purported Health Benefits

While quinoline yellow is primarily used as a food colouring agent, there are no specific health benefits associated with its consumption [2, 3]. It is important to note that quinoline yellow is a synthetic additive and does not possess inherent nutritional or health-promoting properties. 

Recommendations for Safe Consumption

While quinoline yellow is generally considered safe for consumption within established limits, there have been concerns about its potential health implications. 

  • Individual Sensitivities: Be aware of any sensitivities or allergies you may have to synthetic food colourings. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions, such as respiratory issues, skin rashes, or digestive discomfort, after consuming quinoline yellow. If you experience any adverse reactions, it is advisable to avoid its consumption and seek medical advice if needed [4, 5].

  • Read Product Labels: Be vigilant and read food product labels to identify the presence of quinoline yellow or other synthetic food colourings. This allows you to make informed choices based on your preferences or any sensitivities you may have.

  • Consult Healthcare Professionals: If you have specific health concerns, such as known allergies or sensitivities, or dietary restrictions, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalised advice tailored to your individual needs and help you navigate potential risks associated with quinoline yellow.

  • Moderation: Consume foods containing quinoline yellow in moderation. While it is considered safe within regulatory limits, excessive intake may lead to potential adverse effects [6, 7]. Follow recommended serving sizes and consider overall dietary balance.

  • Varied Diet: Focus on consuming a diverse range of whole, unprocessed foods that are naturally colourful and rich in nutrients. This reduces reliance on synthetic food colorings and ensures a well-rounded nutritional intake while minimising potential risks associated with additives.

  • Food Choices: Opt for foods that naturally possess vibrant colours without the need for synthetic additives. This includes incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs into your diet, which not only provide natural colours but also offer numerous health benefits.

  • Differential concerns regarding its potential toxicity have resulted in its acceptance for use in European countries, but banishment in Japan and USA [8].


  1. Silva MM, Reboredo FH, Lidon FC. Food colour additives: A synoptical overview on their chemical properties, applications in food products, and health side effects. Foods. 2022 Jan 28;11(3):379.

  2. Malabadi RB, Kolkar KP, Chalannavar RK. Plant natural pigment colorants-health benefits: toxicity of synthetic or artificial food colorants. International Journal of Innovation Scientific Research and Review. 2022;4(10):3418-29.

  3. Shakeri A, Soheili V, Karimi M, Hosseininia SA, Fazly Bazzaz BS. Biological activities of three natural plant pigments and their health benefits. Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization. 2018 Mar;12:356-61.

  4. Björkner B, Magnusson B. Patch test sensitization to D & C Yellow No. 11 and simultaneous reaction to Quinoline Yellow. Contact Dermatitis. 1981 Feb;7(1):1-4.

  5. Macioszek VK, Kononowicz AK. The evaluation of the genotoxicity of two commonly used food colors: Quinoline Yellow (E 104) and Brilliant Black BN (E 151). Cellular and Molecular Biology Letters. 2004 Jan 1;9(1):107-22.

  6. Shahabadi N, Maghsudi M, Rouhani S. Study on the interaction of food colourant quinoline yellow with bovine serum albumin by spectroscopic techniques. Food chemistry. 2012 Dec 1;135(3):1836-41.

  7. Wang R, Hu X, Pan J, Gong D, Zhang G. Interaction between quinoline yellow and human serum albumin: spectroscopic, chemometric and molecular docking studies. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2019 Jan 15;99(1):73-82.

  8. Rovina K, Siddiquee S, Shaarani SM. Extraction, analytical and advanced methods for detection of allura red AC (E129) in food and beverages products. Frontiers in microbiology. 2016 May 27;7:798.


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.