Tartrazine is another name for Yellow #5. It is an ingredient in many food products, including candy, soft drinks, snacks, pickles, mustard, and jellies, and some pet products. It is used primarily as a bright yellow food dye and is a synthetic product. Over the past several decades there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the dye and many other synthetic dyes.
Tartrazine comes from Benzene, which is a byproduct of crude oil. It has been known to cause allergic reactions. In 1979 the FDA began requiring food companies to include Yellow #5 specifically on food labels. It was banned by the EPA as a gasoline additive, so the fact that the substance is allowed in food products is ironic. Those who want to learn more about the potentially dangerous effects of the substance can find information here: http://www.fitnessquests.com/2010/06/what-is-fdc-yellow-5-tartrazine.html.
The yellow dye created somewhat of a panic in the 90s, when it was reported to cause testicular atrophy. People with sensitivity to aspirin are far more likely to have a reaction to the dye, so there are truly some concerns about consuming it for some people.
Health problems the food additive is known to cause include asthma, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorder, and many others. This does not mean that it will cause problems for everyone but those who are concerned should read labels. Other synthetic dyes have also been known to cause sensitivities and reactions. Other synthetic colors are also derived from benzene. However, they may not be present in as many food products.
Several dyes of various colors have already been banned by the FDA, including other yellow dyes, numbers 1,2,3, and 4. For a list of seven banned dyes check out this link at http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2012/08/27/living-in-color-t.... There are no definitive conclusions about yellow #5 as a carcinogen, though many people believe it can simply due to its close association with other carcinogenic dyes. Read more and decide for yourself if that next 20 ounce soda or snack from the vending machine is worth the potential risk.