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Tartrazine: a yellow hazard


Tartrazine (FDC Yellow No.5) is an orange-yellow azo dye used to colour foods, soft drinks and drugs. It is safe for most people, but some are sensitive to it and may suffer adverse reactions. Tartrazine is difficult to avoid because its use is so widespread and its presence in a product does not have to be declared. Manufacturers use dyes to enhance the appearance of a product and to help identification of different drugs and dosage forms. Tartrazine is used alone or combined with other dyes (combinations can form a red or green colour) in many pharmaceutical products. Any part of a preparation may contain it - the gelatin capsule, the tablet coating, the product identification marking, or the filler.

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