What is E122 (Carmoisine) and Is It Vegan?

E122 Carmoisine Azorubine Vegan Chemical Structure

E122 is a Coloring agent used in many different products, both food and non-food consumer goods. It’s pretty much exclusively derived from one source, and is exclusively synthetic in origin.

E122 is derived from Coal Tar, much like other Azo Dyes, and is also known as Carmoisine and/or Azorubine depending on which country the ingredient is being used and the context it’s mentioned. Regardless, they all mean the same thing and are the same thing.

So is E122 (Carmoisine/Azorubine) Vegan?

Yes, due to it being part of the Azo Dye family that’s derived from Coal Tar it’s definitely vegan/vegetarian.

With that being said, it’s still something you should somewhat avoid, as it’s health effects aren’t entirely known/understood and it can cause rashes and headaches amongst other symptoms in certain individuals, especially children.

What Foods/Products contain E122?

As E122 has a Red Color, there’s a good chance it’s in any red beverage or candy you may eat. That’s not necessarily the case however, as there are many other ingredients used to make an item appear red, including some non-vegan ones such as Carmine.

Generally if a food is Red in color and processed, but isn’t shiny, it’ll contain E122 rather than Carmine or other potentially non-vegan alternatives to E122.