FD&C Yellow 6, aka “Sunset Yellow FCF,” is a common ingredient used for artificial coloring in foods, cosmetics, and drugs. Some people suspect Yellow 6 is made from crushed insects, but it’s actually derived from petroleum. While Yellow 6 is vegan because it does not contain any animal products, some vegans may ethically object to its use because it has been tested on animals. Yellow 6 has also been a subject of controversy because of its possible connections to ADHD in children, and cancer.
Yellow 6 in Foods
Yellow 6 is used in many popular food products, such as Skittles and Starburst. When it is used in food sold in the U.S., it is labeled as FD&C Yellow 6 or sometimes just Yellow 6. In Europe it is labeled as E110. In other consumer products, such as cosmetics and drugs, Yellow 6 may also be labeled as Orange Yellow S or C.I. 15985.
Alternatives to Yellow 6
Yellow 6 is ubiquitous throughout the food and cosmetic industry, and therefore can be difficult to avoid as a consumer. However, for the purpose of making your own food colorings at home, you can use natural dyes in lieu of artificial dyes containing Yellow 6. Lemon zest, passion fruit, yellow peppers, and many other foods work well for making yellow dyes and food coloring.
Controversy & Restrictions in European Countries
Due to its possible link to cancer and ADHD, Yellow 6 has become extremely controversial in the UK and other European nations. Norway, Finland, and Sweden have placed restrictions and bans on the use of Yellow 6. In some other European countries, products containing Yellow 6 may having the warning label: “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”.