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Ponceau 4R as Food Color need to pay more attention

The Indonesian people's habits for consuming snacks have continued to increase after the Covid 2019 pandemic. The 2020 State of Snacking Survey issued by Modelez International found that the pandemic has changed the habits of Indonesian people in consuming snacks, including as many as 60% of Indonesians snacking more during the pandemic than in 2019. "Indonesian people themselves consume an average of 3x snacks per day, exceeding the global average," concluded Prashant Peres, President Director of Mondelez Indonesia.

When we are consuming snacks there are things that must be checked first. Referring to BPOM regulation No. 19 of 2019 concerning BTP regulations on food, especially snacks, there are several food colorings that are prohibited from being used both in spices and in the snacks base.

Here we will discuss one of the food colorings that we usually encounter in food and drinks.

Ponceau 4R CI. No. 16255 (Ponceau 4R)

Ponceau is a food coloring that gives food and beverages a bright red color like strawberry red color. BPOM regulates the use of Ponceau 4R in food category 15.0 Snacks that the use of Ponceau is only permitted in food category 15.1 while in food category 15.2 which is processed whole nuts, including coated nuts and mixed Nuts and 15.3 which is fish-based snacks such as crackers are prohibited.

Products included in the food category 15.1, namely Extrudate Snacks - Based on Potatoes, Tubers, Cereals, Flour or Starch (from Tubers and Nuts) are allowed to use Ponceau 4R with a maximum content of 200 ppm. However, to be considered is the food color that must apply in the dough of the snack, not in the seasoning that coats the base snack. BPOM regulates that Ponceau 4R is prohibited from being used in spices and condiments that are included in the food category 12.2.2.

If we try to find some snacks in a local traditional store there are some products that still don’t have BPOM certificates and this is the most important; some of them have eye-catching red color in it because they want to make their snack more interesting and look like a tasty Balado Seasoning. Instead of using natural color or at least the permitted Allura Red in snack and condiments, they wanted to cut production costs and have an instant way to make their snack more attractive.

Although in other food categories; Instant Sauce, Fruit Jam, Jelly, Syrup, Meat Product, and bakery products Ponceau is still allowed, for the detail we can see the BPOM regulations No. 11 2019 about Food Additives.

Regulations in other countries. There are some differences in every country when they regulate Ponceau 4R as food coloring. The codex general standard for Food Additives specifies maximum limits for Ponceau in food category 12.2.2, 15.1 and 15.2 is 500 ppm, 200 ppm and 100 ppm respectively. In Europe, the maximum permitted levels in foods and beverages range up to 500 and 200 ppm, respectively. In Australia and New Zealand, the MPLs are up to 70 ppm in beverages and 290 ppm in foods. Ponceau 4R is not an approved food additive in the US or Canada due to a rationalization of the number of food additives.

Something very important to check before we eat snacks is their food coloring. In some snacks that have BPOM certificates or have MD numbers for distribution permits, we can assume that they are safe for consumption. Nevertheless, for other snacks that don’t have it we have to pay more attention because they are produced by some ingredients that we don’t know and aren't checked by BPOM.

BPOM regulates Ponceau 4R with some reasons; next we will share about its effects on health

PT. NP Foods Indonesia is committed to producing and distributing products that comply with BPOM Regulations, as we follow Indonesia Governments and as our concern for the Indonesian people for what they consume.


  • Peraturan Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan nomor 11 Tahun 2019 Tentang Bahan Tambahan Pangan

  •, J. Abbey, L.D. Tomaska, Ponceau 4R in Encyclopedia of Food Safety, 2014, <>(diakses 20 Jan 2023)

  • Mondelez International, State of snacking 2021 Global Consumer Snacking Trend Study

  • <>(diakses 20 Jan 2023)


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