Brilliant Blue FCF


FD&C Blue No. 1
INS No. 133
EINECS No. 223-339-8
CAS N0. 3844-45-9
CI Food Blue 2
CI No. 42090
Food Blue No. 1

Physical Description

Brilliant blue is a greenish blue dye that adds a blue shade in applications. The colorant is principally the disodium salt of ethyl [4-p- [ethyl (m-sulfobenzyl) amino] -α−(o-sulfophenyl) benzylidene] -2,5-cyclohexadien-1-ylidene] (m-sulfobenzyl)ammonium hydroxide inner salt with smaller amounts of isomeric disodium salts of ethyl [4-p- [ethyl (p-sulfobenzyl) amino] -α – (o-sulfophenyl) benzylidene]-2,5-cyclohexadien-1-ylidene] (p-sulfobenzyl)ammonium hydroxide inner salt and ethyl [ 4-p-[ethyl (o-sulfobenzyl) amino] α-(o-sulfophenyl) benzylidene] -2,5-cyclohexadien-1-ylidene] (o-sulfobenzyl) ammonium hydroxide inner salt. Brilliant blue is soluble in water and slightly soluble in ethanol.

Common Uses

Brilliant blue adds a distinctive, bright blue hue to confections, beverages, cereals, frozen dairy desserts, popsicles, cakes and cupcakes, chewing gum, frostings and icings.


JECFA (2017)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012

Codex GSFA Provisions

Brilliant blue FCF (INS No. 133) is added to foods and beverages at concentrations up to a maximum permitted level (MPL) as established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. There are more than 50 food categories for which Brilliant Blue is approved, which are published in the General Standard of Food Additives (GSFA).

Regulatory Approvals

USA: FD&C Blue No. 1, along with its aluminum lake (21 CFR 82.101), are subject to certification and may be safely used for coloring foods (including dietary supplements) generally (21 CFR 74.101),  drugs (21 CFR 74.1101) and cosmetics generally (21 CFR 74.2101), in amounts consistent with GMP

EU: ADI of 0-6 mg/kg body weight (EFSA, 2010); EFSA has also established MPLs for use of Brilliant Blue FCF in foods and beverages in Europe

JECFA: ADI of 0-6 mg/kg body weight (84th Report; 2017)

Safety Assessment

Brilliant blue is a dye with a triphenylmethane base structure permitted in the EU, Japan, USA and other regions. JECFA re-evaluated Brilliant blue in 2017 and concluded that the available data support the revision of the ADI for Brilliant blue and that the study on long-term toxicity in rats should be considered as the pivotal study. In this study, a NOAEL of 631 mg/kg bw per day was identified, and the Committee established an ADI of 0–6 mg/kg bw based on this NOAEL by applying an uncertainty factor of 100 for interspecies and intraspecies differences. The Committee noted that the conservative dietary exposure estimate of 5 mg/kg bw per day (95th percentile for children) is less than the upper limit of the ADI of 0–6 mg/kg bw established for Brilliant blue and concluded that dietary exposure to Brilliant blue for children and all other age groups does not present a health concern.

Safety Reviews

Evaluation of certain food additives: eighty-fourth report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (WHO technical report series; no. 1007) 2017. Available online

EFSA ANS Panel (2010) Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of Brilliant Blue (E 133) as a food additive. EFSA Journal, 8(11), 1853 [36 pp]. Available online