1. Red 2G (also known as CI Food Red 10; INS No. 128) is a synthetic dye commercially available as the sodium salt of the dye (water-soluble) or the aluminium lake (water-insoluble).
  2. Red 2G imparts light red colour, producing cherry to blood-red shades in foods. It has excellent stability to heat, light, acids and sulphur dioxide.
  3. In Hong Kong , the use Red 2G is no longer permitted in food from 1 December 2008.

Safety of Red 2G

  1. The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has evaluated the safety of Red 2G and considered that the concentrations of the dye reaching the body tissues is likely to be very small and considerably lower than that required to induce mutations in bacterial studies. There was no evidence of carcinogenicity for Red 2G in animal studies. JECFA allocated an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 0-0.1 mg/kg body weight for Red 2G in 1981.
  2. Aniline, the metabolite of Red 2G, has raised safety concern. Based on the animal data published since 1999, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in July 2007 concluded that aniline was genotoxic i.e. DNA damaging in rodents and there was insufficient evidence to discount a genotoxic mechanism for the rodent carcinogenicity. Based on similar metabolism of aniline in animals and humans, carcinogenic risk for human cannot be excluded. EFSA concluded that it was prudent to regard Red 2G as being of safety concern. Consequently, ESFA withdrew the ADI for Red 2G previously established by the European Commission. A regulation to suspend the use of Red 2G was subsequently adopted by the European Commission (EC) on 26 July 2007 and came into force on 28 July 2007.

Regulatory Control

  1. The Codex Alimentarius Commission has not established any standard for Red 2G in food.
  2. Red 2G is not a permitted food colour in the Mainland, the US, Canada, Australia, member countries of the European Union, Singapore etc.
  3. In Hong Kong, with effect from 1 December 2008, according to the Colouring Matter in Food Regulations (Cap. 132H), the use of Red 2G in food is not permitted. Upon conviction, offenders shall be liable to a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Advice to the Trade

  1. Do not use Red 2G and Red 2G containing colours in food.

Risk Assessment Section
Centre for Food Safety
January 2009