In this study, a selective, rapid and sensitive surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor is prepared for real time detection of tartrazine in fruit juice. Tartrazine imprinted and non-imprinted poly(hydroxyethylmethacrylateN-methacryloyl-(L)-histidine methyl ester) thin films are synthesized onto SPR chip surface using ultraviolet polymerization. The characterization studies of tartrazine imprinted and non-imprinted SPR sensors are performed with contact angle measurements, atomic force microscopy and ellipsometry. Then, kinetic studies for tartrazine are carried out in the concentration range of 0.5-100.0 mu M. The response time for adsorption, desorption and regeneration cycles is approximately about 15 min for the optical sensor system. The limit of detection and quantification are obtained as 0.0076 mu M and 0.0252 mu M, respectively. The selectivity studies of the tartrazine imprinted and non-imprinted SPR sensors are determined in the presence of allura red and sunset yellow molecules. In order to demonstrate the applicability, validation studies of tartrazine imprinted SPR sensor are performed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS).