Ponceau 4r (e124) is a synthetic food color that is added to induce a red color in food. Its chemical name is trisodium salt of 1-(4-sulpho-1-napthylazo)- 2-napthol- 6,8-disulphonic acid. Ponceau red is a red food color, a red azo dye with its C.I. number being 16255 and C.I. name being Acid Red 18. Other popular names for ponceau 4r are Cochineal Red A, C.I. Acid Red 18, Brilliant Scarlet 3r, Brilliant Scarlet 4r, New Coccine, SX Purple and Food Red 7. But despite so many synonyms, it is popular as ponceau 4r only. The e number of the synthetic red food dye is e 124.
Ponceau food color is synthesized using coal tar. It is used to induce a red color in a variety of food products like sweets, jellies, desserts, tinned and canned fruits and foods, cakes, pastries, soups, soft drinks, canned beverages, etc.
Ponceau red is a synthetic red azo dye prepared from coal tar. Synthetic and artificial food products are notorious for causing allergic reactions and intolerances among a people consuming them, and ponceau e 124 is no different. The possible ill effects or the possible ponceau side effects can be listed as follows:
Ponceau 4r (124) is, therefore, not considered safe for consumption and falls under the category of banned food additives in certain countries and nations, listed by the FDA – US Food & Drug Administration.