Taiwan finds banned coloring in French macarons

Azorubine is banned in Taiwan and the U.S., but not in the EU

Colorful macarons (photo by Ruth Hartnup).

Colorful macarons (photo by Ruth Hartnup). (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Food safety inspectors found the banned coloring agent Azorubine in a batch of French macarons from the prestigious brand Jean-Paul Hevin, reports said Wednesday.

The substance, also known as Food Red 3 or in the European Union as E122, has been listed in Taiwan as not allowed to be used in food. Companies using the coloring agent need to report their process and to label it clearly as unfit for use in food, the Central News Agency reported.

However, the ban only applies to Taiwan and the United States, while the EU still allows its use in food products.

The discovery was made in one type of product from Jean-Paul Hevin, the “Macaron Violette.” Azorubine has a reddish tint which has led to its usage in desserts, dried fruit, alcoholic beverages and cheeses in the EU.

The substance appears on a list of banned ingredients published by the Environmental Protection Administration last month, while it was also discovered in imported biscuits and candy in May last year, according to CNA.

The illegal use of Azorubine and other similar additives could be subject to fines from NT$60,000 (US$1,960) to NT$500,000 (US$16,000), officials said.