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Brilliant black BN

A representation of Brilliant black BN

Brilliant black BN is a synthetic azo dye that is approved in the EU as food colorant E 151. It is mainly used for coloring confectionery, cheese, sausage, mustard and beverages. But what exactly is brilliant black BN and how does it affect dogs' health? In this article, you'll find out everything you need to know about this colorant.

What is brilliant black BN?

Brilliant black BN is a black solid that is soluble in water. It has the chemical formula C28H17N5Na4O14S4 and a molar mass of 867.69 g/mol. It belongs to the azo dyes, which contain one or more azo groups (-N=N-). These groups are responsible for the intense coloration.

Brilliant black BN is produced synthetically by coupling 1-aminobenzene-4-sulphoic acid with 1-aminonaphthalene-7-sulphonic acid and then diazotizing with 1-acetylamino-8-naphthol-4,6-disulphoic acid. The result is a tetrasodium salt, also known as black PN or brilliant black FCF.

How is brilliant black BN used in food?

Brilliant black BN is approved in the EU as food colorant E 151. It may be used for the following foods

  • Fermented milk products and cream products
  • cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Mostarda di Frutta
  • Confectionery (e.g. licorice)
  • Candied fruit
  • Chewing gum
  • Decorations, coatings, sauces, fillings, batters and baked goods
  • Coatings for meat and sausage
  • Surimi and fish roe
  • Condiments, mustard
  • soups
  • Vegetarian protein products
  • Dietary foods
  • Flavored drinks and wine
  • Apple, pear and fruit wine
  • Wine-based drinks
  • Spirits
  • Snacks
  • Desserts
  • Food supplements

Depending on the application, the maximum permitted quantity is between 50 and 500 mg/kg. There is no limit for edible cheese rind and sausage casings (quantum satis).

What are the advantages of Brilliant Black BN?

The advantage of brilliant black BN is that it produces an intense black color that blends well with other colorants. It is also stable to light, heat and acid. It can therefore give foods an attractive appearance and extend their shelf life.

What are the disadvantages of brilliant black BN?

Brilliant black BN also has some disadvantages that should be considered. Firstly, it can trigger allergies or intolerances, especially in people who are sensitive to aspirin or other salicylates. Possible symptoms include skin rashes, itching, asthma or gastrointestinal complaints.

On the other hand, it can impair the absorption of nutrients by inhibiting certain digestive enzymes. This can lead to a deficiency in iron, zinc or vitamin B12 in particular. It can also change the intestinal flora and weaken the immune system.

How does Brilliant Black BN affect dogs?

The effect of brilliant black BN on dogs has not yet been sufficiently researched. However, there are indications that dogs can react to the dye in a similar way to humans. This means that they can show allergic or intolerant reactions or suffer a reduced nutrient intake.

It is therefore advisable not to give dogs food containing brilliant black BN, especially if they are prone to allergies or digestive problems. If you want to feed your dog something black, you can use natural alternatives such as activated charcoal, squid or black beans instead.


Brilliant black BN is a synthetic azo dye that is approved in the EU as food colorant E 151. It is used for coloring various foods, especially confectionery, cheese, sausage and beverages. It has the advantage of producing an intense black color that mixes well with other colorants. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as the possible triggering of allergies or intolerances and the impairment of nutrient absorption. Brilliant Black BN is not recommended for dogs as it can have similar negative effects. However, there are natural alternatives that are safe for dogs.

Learn even more about Brilliant black BN

If you notice any signs of hypersensitivity or poisoning in your dog, you should see your vet immediately. We are not a substitute for a vet, but we try to be as accurate as possible. Every dog reacts differently and we recommend you get a second opinion or consult your vet if in doubt.

Stay healthy and take good care of your four-legged friend!😊

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