E131 – Patent Blue V

What is E131 Patent Blue V ?

Patent Blue V, also known as E131, is a synthetic dye commonly used for its vibrant light blue color. It can be used alone or in combination with other dyes in a wide range of products, both in food and medical products.

E131 appears as a dark blue or green powder with the molecular formula C54H62CaN4O14S4. It is highly soluble in water and forms a blue solution, which is used for coloring purposes.

Despite its widespread use, E131 Patent Blue V, has been the subject of extensive analysis regarding food safety and its use as a dye.

What is the recommended daily intake ?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have conducted safety evaluations of the food additive E131 Patent Blue V. They have established a recommended daily intake of 0-5 mg/kg body weight/day. The FDA has classified it as an artificial color additive exempt from certification but with certain usage restrictions. It is considered safe if the daily intake is limited. Careful reading of food labels is advised.

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In which products is the E131 Patent Blue V additive found ?

  • Food Industry:
    E131 Patent Blue V is commonly used as a food additive to enhance the appearance of various products. It is found in sweets, beverages, and some dairy products. Its bright blue shade can be mixed with other colors to create a wide range of hues. Examples include alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, preserved fruit and vegetable products, fat-based desserts, fruit or milk desserts, cakes, biscuits, wafers, snacks, confectionery products, fish preparations and preserves, processed cheese, sauces, condiments, mustard, food supplements, and dietary preparations.
  • Pharmaceutical Products:
    In the pharmaceutical sector, E131 is used as a colorant for capsules, tablets, and syrups. It helps in identifying and differentiating products.
  • Medical Field:
    E131 has significant applications in the medical field, especially in surgical procedures. It is used in sentinel lymph node biopsies for detecting metastatic cancer. The dye helps surgeons identify and examine lymph nodes.

Contraindications and Risks of E131 Patent Blue V

Some studies have raised concerns about potential health risks associated with E131 Patent Blue V. These include allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. In rare cases, severe allergic reactions may occur, especially in individuals with a history of allergies to synthetic dyes.

E131 has also been associated with potential genotoxicity and carcinogenicity risks. However, current evidence is inconclusive, and more research is needed to fully understand these risks. It is not allowed in foods intended for infants and young children.

Read also – How to Choose Fruits and Vegetables at the Store


Limiting the amount of E131 Patent Blue V in the diet

Given the potential health risks, there is increasing interest in finding alternatives to synthetic dyes. Natural colorants derived from plant, animal, and mineral sources are being explored as safer and more acceptable options. Examples include spirulina (a blue-green algae) and anthocyanins (pigments found in berries) (E163). Look for products with cleaner labels or those using natural additives. By installing the InfoCons Application and scanning the barcodes of food products, you can find the number and type of food additives in the application.

In conclusion, E131 Patent Blue V remains a widely used synthetic dye with applications across the food, pharmaceutical, and medical industries. While it offers significant benefits in terms of coloring and utility, its safety continues to be scrutinized. Regulatory bodies are seeking the development of natural alternatives that may ultimately lead to reduced reliance on synthetic dyes like E131.

Author – Cosmina Nițu

Master in Nutrition – Infant and new born nutrition




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