Replacing Red 3 in Food, Beverage, Pet


Legislation Puts Red 3 on the Chopping Block


Assembly Bill 418

Like Titanium Dioxide, FD&C Red 3 has been used safely in food and beverage applications for decades, but recently has come under fire. In February 2023, California Assembly Bill 418 was introduced to the California State Assembly that would prohibit manufacture or distribution of five food additives in the State of California, including Titanium Dioxide, Red 3, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, and Propyl Paraben. It passed the California State Assembly in May 2023. Bill 418 was then amended, and Titanium Dioxide was removed.

The revised Bill 418 passed the California State Senate and Assembly in September 2023 with the following additives:


Red 3


Potassium Bromate


Brominated Vegetable Oil


Propyl Paraben


Bill 418 was officially signed into law to be effective January 1, 2027.

This marks the first time a state has banned ingredients permitted by the Food and Drug Administration. The formal passing of Bill 418 could incite an unprecedented turning point in the food and beverage landscape because it directly challenges the FDA’s national authority over evidence-based regulations.

New York State

Senate Bill S6055A

The state of New York introduced a similar bill to California’s that would prohibit the same five additives (Titanium Dioxide, Red 3, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, and Propyl Paraben) beginning January 1, 2025.

The session for this bill closed June 8th, 2023, and did not move forward but could be reintroduced next year.


New Jersey

Assembly Bill A5436

The state of New Jersey introduced the exact same bill as New York that if passed would also prohibit the distribution, manufacturing, and sale of five food additives (Titanium Dioxide, Red 3, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, and Propyl Paraben).

The session for the New Jersey Assembly Bill A5436 is still open and ends December 31, 2023. Sensient continues to monitor for updates.

Partnering for Reformulation Success—Replacing Red 3

Red 3 is most commonly used to impart bright pink and red hues to food and beverages.

Although we believe that Red 3 is a safe ingredient to use based on a lack of scientific evidence supporting risk claims, we are here to support our customers in their color needs.

As the color industry’s most vertically integrated manufacturer of both FD&C and natural colors, Sensient is readily equipped to help manufacturers effectively reformulate.


Different pathways of replacing Red 3 are available based on brand/manufacturer needs.

From a stability and cost standpoint, replacing Red 3 with Red 40, a Red 40 blend, Carmine/Cochineal Extract, or Red Iron Oxide will be an ideal avenue and even a cost-savings for some.

These solutions are stable through a diverse amount of processing parameters and cost-effective. There are some potential downsides to these options though.

The enactment of the California Assembly Bill 418 opens the door for other States to propose bans on other color additives including Red 40 and Red Iron Oxide. While Sensient hopes States do not go down this trajectory, it is an unfortunate unknown and could prompt brands/manufacturers to exclusively consider natural reformulations of Red 3. Red Iron Oxide has limited permissibility in hard and soft candy, mints, chewing gum, and pet products. Pink shades from carmine and cochineal are fantastic highly stable color matches to Red 3 but would prohibit a brand from making a front-of-pack Kosher claim.

Different pathways of replacing Red 3 are available based on brand/manufacturer needs.

Depending on the product application, there are many natural color options for pink such as black carrot, red radish, beet juice, purple sweet potato, lycopene, blackcurrant, and grape skin extract. Of the long list of natural pink options, black carrot, red radish, and beet juice perform better than the others from a cost and shade match to Red 3.

For high acid and high-water applications, black carrot or red radish color solutions will be your star performers. For most other applications, beet juice color solutions are very nice alternatives to Red 3.

High color concentrated natural solutions like Sensient’s black carrot and beet juice will help to ease the cost burden of switching from a synthetic to natural color option.

For more challenging Red 3 reformulations, leveraging one of Sensient’s innovative natural color technologies like Watermelon-Rose™ for replacing Red 3 in strawberry milk will enable food manufacturers to deliver on consumer expectation for appealing pink color.

Magna Ruby™/ SupraRed™


Bright, vivid pinks in neutral pH that stand
up to high and harsh heat processing



Enhanced stability for UHT pasteurization
and dairy applications

Pure-S™ Red


Saturated pink shades from red radish for confections without bitter flavor off-notes



Perfect pinks that fully incorporate into fat/oil-based systems and coats or plates dry blend applications without high shear blending or spray drying

For expert color guidance on the right Red 3 replacement solution for your product, shade, price point—
let’s connect by filling out this brief form.

Or, if you are ready to trial alternative solutions on the bench,
request color solutions for replacing Red 3 right here.

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