Complete Review of Rodamin B, a Dangerous Powder Dye

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  • Complete Review of Rodamin B, a Dangerous Powder Dye

By: Prof. Dr.. Hj. Ir. Purwantiningsih M.S. Auditor Senior LPPOM MUI

The Food and Drug Supervisory Agency of the Republic of Indonesia (Badan POM RI) still finds the use of hazardous materials for food coloring, one of which is Rodamin B. What is the reason? How is the regulation?

Dyes play a role in giving an attractive impression to consumers, homogenizing the color of food, stabilizing color, covering discoloration during the processing process and overcoming discoloration during storage. However, behind the color of food and drinks, there are actually ingredients that must be observed for their halalness and safety.

Not infrequently there are still rogue entrepreneurs who use dyes instead of being used for food coloring (non-food grade) to add to the attractiveness of the food and drinks they peddle. This kind of practice is carried out by traders who just want to make a profit regardless of health and food safety aspects.

At the end of 2020, in a raid on a convenience store in Semarang, Central Java, officers found various types of food, including expired mango candies, krupuk and candies containing Rodamin B. This material is a synthetic dye in the form of a crystalline powder and has a green or reddish-purple color.

This dye is commonly used for dyeing textiles, paper, and cosmetic products. Rodamin B belongs to the group of alkaline xanthenes dyes, made from metadietimethylaminephenols and phthalate anhydride, which is an inedible and highly fluorescive material (Purnamasari 2013). The structure of the compound Rodamin B is as follows:

The molecular formula of Rodamin B is C28H31N2 O3 Cl with a molecular weight of 479 g/mol. The trade name of Rodamin B is tetraethyl rodamin, reonine B, D &C Red no. 19, C.I. Basic Violet 10, C.I No 45179, Food Red 15, ADC Rodamine B, Aizan Rodamone and Briliant Pink B. This dye is highly soluble in water and will produce a bluish-red color and strong tendency (Pearce 2009).

According to WHO, Rodamin B is dangerous to human health due to its chemical properties and heavy metal content. Rodamin B contains chlorine compounds (Cl), bensene rings that are carcinogenic, alkylation groups (such as -CH3) that can be radicals due to heat and can bind to proteins, fats, and DNA in the body.

The use of Rodamin B dye in food products is strictly prohibited because it is strongly carcinogenic, can result in impaired liver function to liver cancer (Shah et al. 2005) and in Europe it has been banned since 1984.

How about in Indonesia? The government has issued a regulation on the prohibition of the use of Rodamin B in medicines, food and cosmetics through the Health Meneteri Regulation No. 239/Menkes/Per/V/Year 1985 on Certain Dyes declared to be Hazardous Materials. Especially for food, Ministerial Regulation No. 722/Menkes/Per/IX/Year 1988 on Food Additives regulates the prohibition of the use of Rodamin B compounds as food coloring.

In the regulation, for food product dyes, it is recommended to use natural dyes or synthetic dyes that are regulated in accordance with these regulations. Permenkes in 1988 has been updated to become Permenkes RI No. 033 Of 2012 concerning Food Additives. (*)


  • Pearce, E. 2009. Physiological Anatomy for Paramedics. Jakarta: PT. Gramedia.
  • Retired, D. S. 2013. Effect of Rhodamine B Peroral Dose Stratified over 12 Weeks on Histomorphometric Picture of the Spleen. Semarang: Faculty of Medicine, Diponegoro University.
  • Shah et al. 2005. Benefits and Harms of Food Additives. Bogor: Alumni Association of the Faculty of Food Technology IPB.

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