INS No. 127
FD&C Red No. 3
E 127
CI Food Red 14
CAS No. 16423-68-0

Physical Description

Erythrosine occurs as a brown powder or granules. It is a xanthene dye, consisting of the disodium salt of 2-(2,4,5,7-tetraiodo-6-oxido-3-oxoxanthen-9-yl)benzoate monohydrate and subsidiary coloring matters.

Common Uses

Erythrosine provides a watermelon-red color and can be used in foods and pharmaceuticals, including baked goods, breakfast cereals, confectionery products, dairy products, decorations for baking, dressings and sauces, dried fruit, frostings and icings, frozen breakfast foods, frozen treats, hot beverages, juice drinks and processed fish, meat and egg products.




Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012

Codex GSFA Provisions

Erythrosine (INS No. 127) is added to foods at concentrations up to a maximum permitted level (MPL) as adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. There are 6 food categories for which MPLs for erythrosine have been adopted in the General Standard of Food Additives (GSFA).

Regulatory Approvals

In addition to its approved uses in the European Union, the United States, and by JECFA, erythrosine, known as Red Dye No. 3, is allowed in many countries worldwide. This includes Japan via its list of designated additives, China in 14 food categories via its Food Additives standard (GB 2760), and Foods Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), which permits use in candied cherries, icings, and frostings.

JECFA: ADI of 0-0.1 mg/kg bw (86th meeting, 2018)
USA: FD&C Red No. 3 is  subject to certification and may be safely used for coloring foods generally (including dietary supplements) (21 CFR 74.303) and ingested drugs (21 CFR 74.1303) in amounts consistent with GMP

EU: ADI of 0-0.1 mg/kg body weight (EFSA, 2011). Erythrosine is exclusively authorized for use in cocktail and candied cherries, and Bigarreaux cherries (94/36/EC).

Safety Reviews

Safety Evaluation of certain food additives (86th meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) WHO Food additives series 77, 2020.  Available online

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS); Scientific Opinion on the reevaluation of Erythrosine (E 127) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2011;9(1):1854. [46 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2011.1854. Available online