Ponceau 4R


Cochineal red A
New Coccine
INS No. 124; Ponceau 4R (Cochineal red A)
E 124; Ponceau 4R, Cochineal Red A
CAS No. 2611-82-7
CI Food Red 7
CI No. 16255

Physical Description

Ponceau 4R is a monoaze dye that occurs as reddish powder or granules. It is principally the trisodium salt of 2-hydroxy-1-(4-sulfonato-1- naphthylazo)-6,8-naphthalenedisulfonate and subsidiary coloring matters, together with sodium chloride and/or sodium sulfate as the principal uncolored components. It may be converted to the corresponding aluminum lake.

Common Uses

Typical applications include beverages, confectionery, bakery, dairy fats and oils, meat, seafood, snacks, dry mixes and seasonings, fruit preparation, convenient food, and pharmaceuticals.



Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012


Codex GSFA Provisions

Ponceau 4R (INS No. 124) 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 MPLs for ponceau 4r have been adopted in the General Standard for Food Additives.

Regulatory Approvals

JECFA: ADI of 0-4 mg/kg body weight (2011)

EU: ADI of 0.7 mg/kg bw/day (EFSA, 2009). Maximum permitted levels in specific food and beverage categories have been defined in the EU legislation (Directive 94/36/EC).

Safety Reviews

JECFA, 2011. 74th Report, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. WHO Technical Report Series, No. 966. Available online

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food; Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of Ponceau 4R (E 124) as a food additive on request from the European Commission. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(11):1328. [39 pp.]. Available online