A procedure for quantitative ion-pair extraction of 4(5)-methylimidazole from caramel colour using bis(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid as ion-pairing agent has been developed. Furthermore, a reversed-phase ion-pair liquid chromatographic separation method has been established to analyse the content of 4(5)-methylimidazole in the extracts. A rapid and adequate separation was achieved on a column of Nucleosil 5 C8 eluted with methanol—0.2 M potassium dihydrogen phosphate—water (32.5:25:42.5) containing 0.005 M sodium dodecanesulphonate. This method of determination is superior in speed and repeatability to, and at higher contents of 4(5)-methylimidazole gives a better accuracy than, the World Health Organization method currently official in Denmark. The limit of detection is estimated at 4 μg/g.