Many Malaysian halal food dyes contain azo colors

In an earlier post I’ve gone through all the European E-numbers regarding food dyes and noted which ones should be avoided if one has children. The so-called azo coloring agents are synthetic dyes and as such they often do not contain any alcohol. However, it has been shown that they could be harmful för children, causing hyperactivity and concentration difficulties. In some countries these coloring agents are completely banned. In others they have to be labeled with a warning i.e “may affect children’s behavior and concentration negatively”.

In Malaysia food dyes as well as other foods considered islamically safe for consummation are labeled with the halal logo. But do the halal food dyes contain azo colors?

I’ve looked through my own cupboard and sifted through the food dyes only to find that all but one contained azo colors. The two most commonly found are tartrazine (yellow) and carmoisine (red). The only one I could find not containing any of the above was a pink dye of the star brand (see picture).

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