INS No. 123
E 123
EINECS No. 213-022-2
CAS No. 915-67-3
CI Food Red 9
CI No. 16185

Physical Description

Amaranth is a monazo dye that is typically reddish brown to dark reddish-brown powder or granules. Amaranth provides a dark red to purple color in applications and is soluble in water and sparingly soluble in ethanol.

Common Uses

Amaranth is used for coloring confectionery products, beverages, desserts, cereals, bakery products, dairy products, sausages, and snack foods.


EU Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012

Codex GSFA Provisions

The Codex Alimentarius Commission has finalized authorization of Amaranth (INS No. 123) for use in 5 food categories, including flavored fluid milk drinks, decorations, toppings (non-fruit) and sweet sauces, pre-cooked pastas and noodles and like products, fully preserved, including canned or fermented fish and fish products, including mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms, and chewing gum as noted in the General Standard of Food Additives. Many other applications of Amaranth as a color additive in foods and beverages have been proposed and are pending authorization, following completion of the review and comments process.

Regulatory Approvals

JECFA: ADI of 0-0.5 mg/kg body weight (28th Report, 1984)

EU: ADI of 0.15 mg/kg body weight (EFSA, 2010); EFSA has also established MPLs for use of Amaranth in specific foods and beverages in Europe

Safety Reviews

JECFA (1984) Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants (28th report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). WHO Technical Report Series, 710. Available online

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS); Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of Amaranth (E 123) as a food additive on request from the European Commission. EFSA Journal 2010;8(7):1649. [41 pp.]. Available online