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Food Coloring

Nutritional Information

1 lb, food coloring

  • Calories 676
  • Calories from Fat 337.23
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 37.47g58%
  • Saturated Fat 10.206g51%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 14.062g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 9.072g
  • Cholestreol 358mg119%
  • Sodium 426mg18%
  • Potassium 1057mg30%
  • Total Carbohydrate 0g0%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g0%
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 79.2g158%
  • Calcium 6mg1%
  • Iron 32mg178%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 0%

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Food Coloring on Wikipedia:

Food coloring spreading on a thin water film.

Food coloring (colouring) is any substance that is added to food or drink to change its color. Food coloring is used both in commercial food production and in domestic cooking. Due to its safety and general availability, food coloring is also used in a variety of non-food applications, for example in home craft projects and educational settings.[citation needed]


Purpose of food coloring

People associate certain colors with certain flavors, and the color of food can influence the perceived flavor in anything from candy to wine. [1] For this reason, food manufacturers add dyes to their products. Sometimes the aim is to simulate a color that is perceived by the consumer as natural, such as adding red coloring to glacé cherries (which would otherwise be beige), but sometimes it is for effect, like the green ketchup that Heinz launched in 2000.

While most consumers are aware that food with bright or unnatural colors (such as the green ketchup mentioned above, or children's cereals such as Froot Loops) likely contain food coloring, far fewer people know that seemingly ``natural`` foods such as oranges and salmon are sometimes also dyed to mask natural variations in color.[2] Color variation in foods throughout the seasons and the effects of processing and storage often make color addition commercially advantageous to maintain the color expected or preferred by the consumer. Some of the primary reasons include:

Offsetting color loss due to light, air, extremes of temperature, moisture, and storage conditions. Masking natural variations in color. Enhancing naturally occurring colors. Providing identity to foods. Protecting flavors and vitamins from damage by light. Decorative or artistic purposes such as cake icing.


Food colorings are tested for safety by various bodies around the world and sometimes different bodies have different views on food color safety. In the United States, FD&C numbers (which generally indicates that the FDA has approved the colorant for use in foods, drugs and cosmetics) are given to approved synthetic food dyes that do not exist in nature, while in the European Union, E numbers are used for all additives, both synthetic and natural, that are approved in food applications.

Most other countries have their own regulations and list of food colors which can be used in various applications, including maximum daily intake limits.

Natural colors are not required to be tested by a number of regulatory bodies throughout the world, including the United States FDA. The FDA lists ``color additives exempt from certification`` for food in subpart A of the Code of Federal Regulations - Title 21 Part 73. However, this list contains substances which may have synthetic origins.

Natural food dyes

A growing number of natural food dyes are being commercially produced, partly due to consumer concerns surrounding synthetic dyes. Some examples include:

Caramel coloring (E150), made from caramelized sugar, used in cola products and also in cosmetics. Annatto (E160b), a reddish-orange dye made from the seed of the Achiote. A green dye made from chlorella algae (chlorophyll, E140) Cochineal (E120), a red dye derived from the cochineal insect, Dactylopius coccus. Betanin extracted from beets. Turmeric (curcuminoids, E100) Saffron (carotenoids, E160a) Paprika (E160c) Elderberry juice

To ensure reproducibility, the colored components of these substances are often provided in highly purified form, and for increased stability and convenience, they can be formulated in suitable carrier materials (solid and liquids)

Artificial coloring in United States

Seven dyes were initially approved under the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, but several have been delisted and replacements have been found. [3]

Current seven

In the USA, the following seven artificial colorings are permitted in food (the most common in bold) as of 2007[update]:

FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133 (Blue shade) FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine, E132 (Dark Blue shade) FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143 (Bluish green shade) FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129 (Red shade) FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127 (Pink shade) [4] FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102 (Yellow shade) FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110 (Orange shade)

The above are known as ``primary colors``; when they are mixed to produce other colors, those colors are then known as ``secondary colors``.


FD&C Red No. 2 – Amaranth (dye) FD&C Red No. 4 [5] FD&C Red No. 32‎ was used to color Florida oranges. [3] [5] FD&C Orange No. 1, was one of the first water soluble dyes to be commercialized, and one of seven original food dyes allowed under the Pure Food and Drug Act of June 30, 1906.[3] [5] FD&C Orange No. 2‎ was used to color Florida oranges. [3] FD&C Yellows No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 [5] FD&C Violet No. 1 [5]

Dyes and lakes

Color additives are available for use in food as either ``dyes`` or lake pigments (commonly known as ``lakes``).

Dyes dissolve in water, but are not soluble in oil. Dyes are manufactured as powders, granules, liquids or other special purpose forms. They can be used in beverages, dry mixes, baked goods, confections, dairy products, pet foods, and a variety of other products. Dyes also have side effects which lakes do not, including the fact that large amounts of dyes ingested can color stools.

Lakes are made by combining dyes with salts to make insoluble compounds. Lakes tint by dispersion. Lakes are not oil soluble, but are oil dispersible. Lakes are more stable than dyes and are ideal for coloring products containing fats and oils or items lacking sufficient moisture to dissolve dyes. Typical uses include coated tablets, cake and doughnut mixes, hard candies and chewing gums, lipsticks, soaps, shampoos, talc, etc.

Other uses

Because food dyes are generally safer to use than normal artistic dyes and pigments, some artists have used food coloring as a means of making pictures, especially in forms such as body-painting.

Food colorings can be used to dye fabric, but are usually not wash-fast when used on cotton, hemp and other plant fibers. Some food dyes can be fixed on Nylon and animal fibers. Red food dye is often used as theatrical blood.

Criticism and health implications

Though past research showed no correlation between Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and food dyes,[6][7] new studies now point to synthetic preservatives and artificial coloring agents as aggravating ADD and ADHD symptoms, both in those affected by these disorders and in the general population.[8][9] Older studies were inconclusive quite possibly due to inadequate clinical methods of measuring offending behavior. Parental reports were more accurate indicators of the presence of additives than clinical tests.[10] Several major studies show academic performance increased and disciplinary problems decreased in large non-ADD student populations when artificial ingredients, including artificial colors, were eliminated from school food programs.[11][12]

Norway banned all products containing coal tar and coal tar derivatives in 1978. New legislation lifted this ban in 2001 after EU regulations. As such, many FD&C approved colorings have been banned. Tartrazine causes hives in less than 0.01% of those exposed to it.[2] Erythrosine is linked to thyroid tumors in rats.[13] Cochineal, also known as carmine, is derived from insects and therefore is neither vegan nor vegetarian. It has also been known to cause severe, even life-threatening, allergic reactions in rare cases.[14]

This criticism originated during the 1950s. In effect, many foods that used dye (such as red velvet cake) became less popular.

Brilliant Blue (BBG) food coloring was cited in a recent study in which rats that had suffered a spinal injury were given an injection of the dye immediately after the injury, and were able to regain or retain motor control. BBG helps protect spine from ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which the body sends to the area after a spinal injury, which further damages the spine by killing motor neurons at the site of the injury [15]

See also

Food portal Azo compound Color retention agent E number Food additive


^ Jeannine Delwiche (2004). ``The impact of perceptual interactions on perceived flavor``. Food Quality and Preference 15: 137–146. doi:10.1016/S0950-3293(03)00041-7.  ^ a b ``FDA/CFSAN Food Color Facts``. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2006-09-07.  ^ a b c d ``News of Food; U.S. May Outlaw Dyes Used to Tint Oranges and Other Foods``. New York Times. January 19, 1954, Tuesday. ``The use of artificial colors to make foods more attractive to the eye may be sharply curtailed by action of the United States Food and Drug Administration. Three of the most extensively used coal tar dyes are being considered for removal from the Government's list of colors certified as safe for internal and external use and consumption.``  ^ ``Red No. 3 and Other Colorful Controversies``. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ``FDA terminated the provisional listings for FD&C Red No. 3 on January 29, 1990, at the conclusion of its review of the 200 straight colors on the 1960 provisional list. Commonly called erythrosine, FD&C Red No. 3 is a tint that imparts a watermelon-red color and was one of the original seven colors on Hesse's list.``  ^ a b c d e ``Food coloring``. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-08-21. ``Among the colours that have been “delisted,” or disallowed, in the United States are FD&C Orange No. 1; FD&C Red No. 32; FD&C Yellows No. 1, 2, 3, and 4; FD&C Violet No. 1; and FD&C Reds No. 2 and 4. Many countries with similar food colouring controls (including Canada and Great Britain) also ban the use of Red No. 40, and Yellow No. 5 is also undergoing testing.``  ^ Wilens TE, Biederman J, Spencer TJ. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder across the lifespan. Annual Review of Medicine, 2002:53:113–131 ^ The MTA Cooperative Group. A 14-month randomized clinical trial of treatment strategies for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Archives of General Psychiatry, 1999;56:1073–1086 ^ ``Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial``, Lancet, Sept 2007 ^ 1997 Graduate Student Research Project conducted at the University of South Florida. Author: Richard W. Pressinger M.Ed. ^ ``Food Additives May Affect Kids' Hyperactivity``, WebMD Medical News, May 24, 2004. ^ ``A different kind of school lunch``, PURE FACTS, October 2002 ^ ``The Impact of a Low Food Additive and Sucrose Diet on Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools,`` Schoenthaler SJ, Doraz WE, Wakefield JA, Int J Biosocial Res., 1986, 8(2); 185–195 ^ Jpn J Cancer Res. 1988 Mar; 79(3):314–9 ^ ``Bugs in your snacks.`` The Week, Jan 23, 2009 ^

External links

Food coloring at Encyclopædia Britannica FDA/CFSAN Food Color Facts Natural Food Colors (Food-Info) Report on the Certification of Color Additives by US FDA v â€¢ d â€¢ e Food chemistry

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