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Ponceau 4R (Molecule of the Month for September 2007)

E124, Food Red 7, C.I. 16255, Cochineal Red A, New Coccine, Acid Red 18, SX purple

Ponceau 4R is a synthetic colourant that may be added to foods. It is denoted by E Number E124. Ponceau 4R is a red azo dye which can be used in a variety of food products.

Ponceau 4R is considered carcinogenic in some countries, including the USA, Norway, and Finland, and it is currently listed as a banned substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). [2] Since 2000, the FDA has seized Chinese-produced haw flakes (a fruit candy) on numerous occasions for containing Ponceau 4R.

A study commissioned by the UK's Food Standards Agency found that when used in a mixture of other colourants and preservatives, increased levels of hyperactivity in children were observed.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
trisodium (E)-7-hydroxy-8-((4-sulfonatonaphthalen-1-yl)diazenyl)naphthalene-1,3-disulfonat




Picture of Ponceau 4R

click on the picture above to interact
with the 3D model of the
Ponceau 4R structure
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Picture of Ponceau 4R

C20 H11 N 2Na3 O10 S3

Update by Karl Harrrison
(Molecule of the Month for September 2007 )