Can I use Manganese Violet as a food coloring? It's safe to use in cosmetics, and I've got some left over, so I was wondering. Is it toxic, edible or actually palatable? Does it have a certain taste? And if it can't be used, are there other Manganese (not magnesium) Compounds that I could use as purple food dye? (Just curious)

  • 2
    If you want to be safe buy actual food dyes of the color you are looking for. Getting out the chemical set is not wise in this instance!
    – GdD
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


As absolutely no-one uses it as a food additive, that should give you some considerable concern.
Aside from that, it's not water-soluable.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a factsheet

Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful

Cameo* (a pigment/paint/colour authority) says this:

Hazards and Safety
Toxic. Inhalation or ingestion of manganese can cause a nervous system disorder.

For lists of approved food additives - see Wikipedia; E number

*Cameo - The Conservation and Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO) is an electronic database that compiles, defines, and disseminates technical information on the distinct collection of terms, materials, and techniques used in the fields of art conservation and historic preservation.

  • 3
    Speaking as a potter, raw managanese dioxide (which is used in some pottery glazes) is among the most hazardous colorants you're likely to get your hands on. Not only will it do permanent nerve damage, you can absorb it through your skin. On absolutely no account should you ever use it in food (it's only OK in pottery because in the kiln it gets converted to other compounds which are inert). It's more toxic than lead.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 23:52

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