In this study, styling itself as a “gold standard, double-blind placebo controlled, crossed-over challenge,” 26 adults with atopy (skin or asthma allergy) were tested for tartrazine (Yellow 5) sensitivity and had no problem.
QUOTE: “tartrazine was no more likely than placebo to cause adverse reactions in a group of 26 Brazilian atopic adults with asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria or presenting
allergic or pseudoallergic reactions to ASA or NSAIDs.”
So Tartrazone / Yellow 5 is no problem, right? Let’s look a bit further into this study.
- The subjects were not on a dye-free diet except for the day of the challenge each week when they were given 3 “dye-free” meals.
- The subjects were “allowed to maintain their regular medication” – and since 35 mg Yellow 5 is well within the expected usual exposure per day, their meds could be reasonably expected to block any reaction.
- Just to make sure, the 35 mg of Yellow 5 was not given all at once, but in small doses beginning an hour after the first meal. The first dose was 5 mg, the second 10 mg and the third 20 mg. These would be small doses even for children.
NOTE: The authors claim no conflict of interest, but they do not reveal their funding source either. Or could it be that being part of a federally funded university in Brazil, they were under any pressure to tailor their results to national policy?
NOTE: A better conclusion for this study might be: “Adults carefully maintaining their allergy medications can safely include a small to moderate amount of Tartrazine in their usual diet.”
In spite of the lovely double-blind design, this study is a candidate for inclusion in the upcoming section called How to Do a Really Bad Study.