What are food additives
In its broadest sense, a food additive is any substance added to food. Legally, the term refers to “any substance the intended use of which results or may reasonably be expected to result — directly or indirectly — in its becoming a component or otherwise affecting the characteristics of any food” 1. This definition includes any substance used in the production, processing, treatment, packaging, transportation or storage of food. The purpose of the legal definition, however, is to impose a premarket approval requirement. Therefore, this definition excludes ingredients whose use is generally recognized as safe (where government approval is not needed), those ingredients approved for use by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prior to the food additives provisions of law, and color additives and pesticides where other legal premarket approval requirements apply.
- Direct food additives are those that are added to a food for a specific purpose in that food. For example, xanthan gum — used in salad dressings, chocolate milk, bakery fillings, puddings and other foods to add texture — is a direct additive. Most direct additives are identified on the ingredient label of foods.
- Indirect food additives are those that become part of the food in trace amounts due to its packaging, storage or other handling. For instance, minute amounts of packaging substances may find their way into foods during storage. Food packaging manufacturers must prove to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that all materials coming in contact with food are safe before they are permitted for use in such a manner.
Food additives can be used to 2:
Improve the taste or appearance of a processed food
- Provide color and enhance flavor: Certain colors improve the appearance of foods. Many spices, as well as natural and man-made flavors, bring out the taste of food. For example, beeswax – glazing agent 3 may be used to coat apples to improve their appearance.
- Give the food a smooth and consistent texture: Emulsifiers prevent liquid products from separating. Stabilizers and thickeners provide an even texture. Anticaking agents allow substances to flow freely.
Improve the keeping quality or stability of a food
- Control the acid-base balance of foods and provide leavening: Certain additives help change the acid-base balance of foods to get a certain flavor or color. Leavening agents that release acids when they are heated react with baking soda to help biscuits, cakes, and other baked goods rise. For example, sorbitol – humectant 4 may be added to mixed dried fruit to maintain the moisture level and softness of the fruit.
Preserve food when this is the most practical way of extending its storage life.
- Improve or preserve the nutrient value: Many foods and drinks are fortified and enriched to provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Examples of commonly fortified foods are flour, cereal, margarine, and milk. This helps make up for vitamins or minerals that may be low or lacking in a person’s diet. All products that contain added nutrients must be labeled.
- Maintain the wholesomeness of foods: Bacteria and other germs can cause foodborne illnesses. Preservatives reduce the spoilage that these germs can cause. Certain preservatives help preserve the flavor in baked goods by preventing the fats and oils from going bad.
Preservatives also keep fresh fruits from turning brown when they are exposed to the air. For example, sulphur dioxide – preservative 5 is added to some meat products such as sausage meat to limit microbial growth.
Many substances used as additives also occur naturally, such as vitamin C or ascorbic acid 6 in fruit, or lecithin 7, which is present in egg yolks, soya beans, peanuts and maize. The human body cannot distinguish between a chemical naturally present in a food and that same chemical present as an additive.
Side Effects of Food Additives
Most concerns about food additives have to do with man-made ingredients that are added to foods. Some of these are:
- Antibiotics given to food-producing animals, such as chickens and cows
- Antioxidants in oily or fatty foods
- Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin, sodium cyclamate, and sucralose
- Benzoic acid in fruit juices
- Lecithin, gelatins, cornstarch, waxes, gums, and propylene glycol in food stabilizers and emulsifiers
- Many different dyes and coloring substances
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs and other processed meat products
- Sulfites in beer, wine, and packaged vegetables
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of food additives that are thought to be safe. Many have not been tested, but most scientists consider them safe. These substances are put on the “generally recognized as safe (GRAS)” list. This list contains about 700 items.
Congress defines safe as “reasonable certainty that no harm will result from use” of an additive. Examples of items on this list are: guar gum, sugar, salt, and vinegar. The list is reviewed regularly.
Some substances that are found to be harmful to people or animals may still be allowed, but only at the level of 1/100th of the amount that is considered harmful. For their own protection, people with any allergies or food intolerances should always check the ingredient list on the label. Reactions to any additive can be mild or severe. For example, some people with asthma have worsening of their asthma after eating foods or drinks that contain sulfites.
It is important to keep gathering information about the safety of food additives. Report any reactions you have to food or food additives to the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Information about reporting a reaction is available at: The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (https://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/ContactCFSAN/default.htm 8
What Is a Color Additive ?
A color additive is any dye, pigment or substance which when added or applied to a food, drug or cosmetic, or to the human body, is capable (alone or through reactions with other substances) of imparting color. FDA is responsible for regulating all color additives to ensure that foods containing color additives are safe to eat, contain only approved ingredients and are accurately labeled.
Color additives are used in foods for many reasons:
- To offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions;
- To correct natural variations in color;
- To enhance colors that occur naturally; and
- To provide color to colorless and “fun” foods.
Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green. Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat.
FDA’s permitted colors are classified as subject to certification or exempt from certification, both of which are subject to rigorous safety standards prior to their approval and listing for use in foods.
- Certified colors are synthetically produced (or human made) and used widely because they impart an intense, uniform color, are less expensive, and blend more easily to create a variety of hues. There are nine certified color additives approved for use in the United States (e.g., FD&C Yellow No. 6. See chart for complete list.). Certified food colors generally do not add undesirable flavors to foods.
- Colors that are exempt from certification include pigments derived from natural sources such as vegetables, minerals or animals. Nature derived color additives are typically more expensive than certified colors and may add unintended flavors to foods. Examples of exempt colors include annatto extract (yellow), dehydrated beets (bluish-red to brown), caramel (yellow to tan), beta-carotene (yellow to orange) and grape skin extract (red, green).
How Are Additives Approved for Use in Foods ?
Today, food and color additives are more strictly studied, regulated and monitored than at any other time in history. FDA has the primary legal responsibility for determining their safe use. To market a new food or color additive (or before using an additive already approved for one use in another manner not yet approved), a manufacturer or other sponsor must first petition FDA for its approval. These petitions must provide evidence that the substance is safe for the ways in which it will be used. As a result of recent legislation, since 1999, indirect additives have been approved via a premarket notification process requiring the same data as was previously required by petition.
When evaluating the safety of a substance and whether it should be approved, FDA considers:
- The composition and properties of the substance,
- The amount that would typically be consumed,
- Immediate and long-term health effects, and
- Various safety factors.
The evaluation determines an appropriate level of use that includes a built-in safety margin – a factor that allows for uncertainty about the levels of consumption that are expected to be harmless. In other words, the levels of use that gain approval are much lower than what would be expected to have any adverse effect.
Because of inherent limitations of science, FDA can never be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use of any substance. Therefore, FDA must determine – based on the best science available – if there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to consumers when an additive is used as proposed.
If an additive is approved, FDA issues regulations that may include the types of foods in which it can be used, the maximum amounts to be used, and how it should be identified on food labels. In 1999, procedures changed so that FDA now consults with USDA during the review process for ingredients that are proposed for use in meat and poultry products. Federal officials then monitor the extent of Americans’ consumption of the new additive and results of any new research on its safety to ensure its use continues to be within safe limits.
If new evidence suggests that a product already in use may be unsafe, or if consumption levels have changed enough to require another look, federal authorities may prohibit its use or conduct further studies to determine if the use can still be considered safe.
Regulations known as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) limit the amount of food ingredients used in foods to the amount necessary to achieve the desired effect.
Why Are Food and Color Ingredients Added to Food ?
Food additives perform a variety of useful functions in foods that consumers often take for granted. Some food additives could be eliminated if we were willing to grow our own food, harvest and grind it, spend many hours cooking and canning, or accept increased risks of food spoilage. But most consumers today rely on the many technological, aesthetic and convenient benefits that additives provide.
Following are some reasons why food additives are added to foods 1:
- To Maintain or Improve Safety and Freshness: Preservatives slow product spoilage caused by mold, air, bacteria, fungi or yeast. In addition to maintaining the quality of the food, they help control contamination that can cause foodborne illness, including life-threatening botulism. One group of preservatives — antioxidants — prevents fats and oils and the foods containing them from becoming rancid or developing an off-flavor. They also prevent cut fresh fruits such as apples from turning brown when exposed to air.
- To Improve or Maintain Nutritional Value: Vitamins and minerals (and fiber) are added to many foods to make up for those lacking in a person’s diet or lost in processing, or to enhance the nutritional quality of a food. Such fortification and enrichment has helped reduce malnutrition in the U.S. and worldwide. All products containing added nutrients must be appropriately labeled.
- Improve Taste, Texture and Appearance: Spices, natural and artificial flavors, and sweeteners are added to enhance the taste of food. Food colors maintain or improve appearance. Emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners give foods the texture and consistency consumers expect. Leavening agents allow baked goods to rise during baking. Some additives help control the acidity and alkalinity of foods, while other ingredients help maintain the taste and appeal of foods with reduced fat content.
Common food additives
A food additive, which controls the acidity or alkalinity of a food. Added to beverages, frozen desserts, chocolate, low acid canned foods, baking powder.
Names Found on Product Labels: Lactic acid, citric acid, ammonium hydroxide, sodium carbonate.
- acidity regulator
- buffering agent
- pH adjusting agent
Reduces the tendency of particles of food to adhere to one another. Keep powdered foods free-flowing, prevent moisture absorption. Added to Salt, baking powder, confectioner’s sugar.
Names Found on Product Labels: Calcium silicate, iron ammonium citrate, silicon dioxide.
- anticaking agent
- anti-stick agent
- drying agent
- dusting agent
A food additive, which prevents or reduces foaming.
- antifoaming agent
- defoaming agent
A food additive, which prolongs the shelf-life of foods by protecting against deterioration caused by oxidation.
- antibrowning agent
- antioxidant synergist
A food additive (non-flour use) used to decolourize food. Bleaching agents do not include pigments.
- bleaching agent
A food additive, which contributes to the bulk of a food without contributing significantly to its available energy value.
- bulking agent
A food additive used to provide carbonation in a food.
- carbonating agent
A food additive used to dissolve, dilute, disperse or otherwise physically modify a food additive or nutrient without altering its function (and without exerting any technological effect itself) in order to facilitate its handling, application or use of the food additive or nutrient.
- carrier solvent
- diluent for other food additives
- encapsulating agent
- nutrient carrier
A food additive, which adds or restores colour in a food.
Names Found on Product Labels: FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2, annatto extract, beta-carotene, grape skin extract, cochineal extract or carmine, paprika oleoresin, caramel color, fruit and vegetable juices, saffron (Note: Exempt color additives are not required to be declared by name on labels but may be declared simply as colorings or color added).
- decorative pigment
- surface colorant
Color retention agent
A food additive, which stabilizes, retains or intensifies the colour of a food.
- color adjunct
- color fixative
- color retention agent
- color stabilizer.
Dough Strengtheners and Conditioners
Produce more stable dough. Added to breads and other baked goods.
Names Found on Product Labels: Ammonium sulfate, azodicarbonamide, L-cysteine
A food additive, which forms or maintains a uniform emulsion of two or more phases in a food. Keep emulsified products stable, reduce stickiness, control crystallization, keep ingredients dispersed, and to help products dissolve more easily. Used in salad dressings, peanut butter, chocolate, margarine, frozen desserts
Names Found on Product Labels: Soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, egg yolks, polysorbates, sorbitan monostearate.
- clouding agent
- crystallization inhibitor
- density adjustment agent (flavouring oils in beverages)
- dispersing agent
- surface active agent
- suspension agent.
In a laboratory study involving mice 9 dietary emulsifiers promoted colon cancer in a mouse model by altering gut microbes and increasing gut inflammation. Our digestive tract is home to 100 trillion bacteria. Collectively known as the gut microbiota, these bacteria help with metabolism and maintaining a healthy immune system. Changes in this microbial community can cause chronic diseases. Dietary emulsifiers are added to many processed foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. Chemically similar to detergents, they have been shown to alter the mucus barrier and the microbes associated with it. To determine whether these might play a role in chronic diseases, the researchers fed mice low levels of 2 commonly used emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose or polysorbate-80, in drinking water or in food 9.
Mice fed the emulsifiers for 12 weeks developed low-grade intestinal inflammation and metabolic syndrome — a group of conditions that increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Mice that were genetically engineered to be more prone to inflammation and gut microbe changes developed colitis when fed the emulsifiers.
Mice that consumed the emulsifiers had an altered bacterial composition and thinner intestinal mucus, so that bacteria were closer to the cells lining the colon. The mice also had weight gain, increased food consumption, increased fat mass, and impaired glucose handling, a sign of metabolic syndrome.
When the researchers fed emulsifiers to germ-free mice, which don’t have gut microbiota, the mice showed no signs of gut inflammation, mucus thinning, or metabolic syndrome. This suggests that the effects of the emulsifiers were most likely caused by altering gut bacteria.
When gut microbes from normal, emulsifier-fed mice were transplanted into germ-free mice that hadn’t been fed emulsifiers, the mice developed low grade inflammation, increased fat mass, and glucose intolerance. These results showed that changes in the gut microbiota caused by dietary emulsifiers can drive inflammation and metabolic changes.
Here, the researchers demonstrate in a preclinical model of colitis-induced colorectal cancer that regular consumption of dietary emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose or polysorbate-80, exacerbated tumor development. Enhanced tumor development was associated with an altered microbiota metagenome characterized by elevated levels of lipopolysaccharide and flagellin. We found that emulsifier-induced alterations in the microbiome were necessary and sufficient to drive alterations in major proliferation and apoptosis signaling pathways thought to govern tumor development. Overall, our findings support the concept that perturbations in host–microbiota interactions that cause low-grade gut inflammation can promote colon carcinogenesis.
The researchers are now testing additional emulsifiers. They are also designing experiments to examine the effects of food additives in humans.
A food additive, which, in the manufacture of processed food, rearranges proteins in order to prevent fat separation.
- emulsifying salt
- emulsifying salt synergist
- melding salt.
Modify proteins, polysaccharides and fats. Added to cheese, dairy products, meat.
Names Found on Product Labels: Enzymes, lactase, papain, rennet, chymosin
Fat Replacers (and components of formulations used to replace fats)
Provide expected texture and a creamy “mouth-feel” in reduced-fat foods. Used in baked goods, dressings, frozen desserts, confections, cake and dessert mixes, dairy products.
Names Found on Product Labels: Olestra, cellulose gel, carrageenan, polydextrose, modified food starch, microparticulated egg white protein, guar gum, xanthan gum, whey protein concentrate.
A food additive, which makes or keeps tissues of fruit or vegetables firm and crisp, or interacts with gelling agents to produce or strengthen a gel. Maintain crispness and firmness. Added to processed fruits and vegetables.
Names Found on Product Labels: Calcium chloride, calcium lactate, aluminium ammonium sulfate, aluminium sulfate
- firming agent
Flavor and spices
Add specific flavors (natural and synthetic) to pudding and pie fillings, gelatin dessert mixes, cake mixes, salad dressings, candies, soft drinks, ice cream, BBQ sauce
Names Found on Product Labels: Natural flavoring, artificial flavor, and spices.
A food additive, which enhances the existing taste and/or odour of a food.
Names Found on Product Labels: Monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate or inosinate.
- flavour enhancer
- flavour synergist
Flour treatment agent
A food additive, which is added to flour or dough to improve its baking quality or colour.
- dough conditioner
- dough strengthening agent
- flour bleaching agent
- flour improver
- flour treatment agent
A food additive, which makes it possible to form or maintain a uniform dispersion of a gaseous phase in a liquid or solid food.
- aerating agent
- foaming agent
- whipping agent.
Serve as propellant, aerate, or create carbonation. Used with oil cooking spray, whipped cream, carbonated beverages.
Names Found on Product Labels: Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide
A food additive, which gives a food texture through formation of a gel.
- gelling agent
A food additive, which when applied to the external surface of a food, imparts a shiny appearance or provides a protective coating.
- coating agent
- film forming agent
- glazing agent
- polishing agent
- sealing agent
- surface-finishing agent
A food additive, which prevents food from drying out by counteracting the effect of a dry atmosphere. Retain moisture. Added to shredded coconut, marshmallows, soft candies, confections.
Names Found on Product Labels: Glycerin, sorbitol.
- moisture/water retention agent
- wetting agent.
Promote rising of baked goods. Used in breads and other baked goods.
Names Found on Product Labels: Baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate.
Replace vitamins and minerals lost in processing (enrichment), add nutrients that may be lacking in the diet (fortification). Added to flour, breads, cereals, rice, macaroni, margarine, salt, milk, fruit beverages, energy bars, instant breakfast drinks.
Names Found on Product Labels: Thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), niacin, niacinamide, folate or folic acid, beta carotene, potassium iodide, iron or ferrous sulfate, alpha tocopherols, ascorbic acid, Vitamin D, amino acids (L-tryptophan, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-methionine).
A food additive gas, which is introduced into a container before, during or after filling with food with the intention to protect the food, for example, from oxidation or spoilage.
- packaging gas
A food additive, which prolongs the shelf-life of a food by protecting against deterioration caused by microorganisms.
Names Found on Product Labels: Ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, calcium sorbate, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT, EDTA, tocopherols (Vitamin E).
- antimicrobial preservative
- antimicrobial synergist
- antimould and antirope agent
- antimycotic agent
- bacteriophage control agent
- fungistatic agent
A food additive gas, which expels a food from a container.
A food additive or a combination of food additives, which liberate(s) gas and thereby increase(s) the volume of a dough or batter.
- raising agent
A food additive, which controls the availability of a cation.
A food additive, which makes it possible to maintain a uniform dispersion of two or more components.
- colloidal stabilizer
- emulsion stabilizer
- foam stabilizer
- stabilizer synergist
A food additive (other than a mono- or disaccharide sugar), which imparts a sweet taste to a food.
Names Found on Product Labels: Sucrose (sugar), glucose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), neotame.
- bulk sweetener
- intense sweetener
A food additive, which increases the viscosity of a food. Produce uniform texture, improve “mouth-feel.” Used in frozen desserts, dairy products, cakes, pudding and gelatin mixes, dressings, jams and jellies, sauces.
Names Found on Product Labels: Gelatin, pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, whey.
- bodying agent
- texturizing agent
- thickener synergist
Promote growth of yeast. Used in breads and other baked goods.
Names Found on Product Labels: Calcium sulfate, ammonium phosphate.
Food additives to avoid
Table 1. Banned Additives
|Additive||Function||Problem (Year Banned)|
|Butter yellow||artificial coloring||Toxic, later found to cause liver cancer (1919)|
|Green 1||artificial coloring||Liver cancer (1965)|
|Green 2||artificial coloring||Insufficient economic importance to be tested (1965)|
|Orange 1||artificial coloring||Organ damage (1956)|
|Orange 2||artificial coloring||Organ damage (1960)|
|Orange B||artificial coloring||Contained low levels of a cancer-causing contaminant. Orange B was used only in sausage casings to color sausages, but is no longer used in the United States (1978, ban never finalized).|
|Red 1||artificial coloring||Liver cancer (1961)|
|Red 2||artificial coloring||Possible carcinogen (1976)|
|Red 4||artificial coloring||High levels damaged adrenal cortex of dog; after 1965 it was used only in maraschino cherries and certain pills; it is still allowed in externally applied drugs and cosmetics (1976).|
|Red 32||artificial coloring||Damages internal organs and may be a weak carcinogen; since 1956 it continues to be used under the name Citrus Red 2 only to color oranges (2 ppm) (1956).|
|Sudan 1||artificial coloring||Toxic, later found to be carcinogenic (1919).|
|Violet 1||artificial coloring||Cancer (it had been used to stamp the Department of Agriculture’s inspection mark on beef carcasses) (1973).|
|Yellow 1 & 2||artificial coloring||Intestinal lesions at high dosages (1959).|
|Yellow 3||artificial coloring||Heart damage at high dosages (1959).|
|Yellow 4||artificial coloring||Heart damage at high dosages (1959).|
|agene (nitrogen trichloride)||flour bleaching and aging agent||Dogs that ate bread made from treated flour suffered epileptic-like fits; the toxic agent was methionine sulfoxime (1949).|
|cinnamyl anthranilate||artificial flavoring||Liver cancer (1982)|
|cobalt salts||stabilize beer foam||Toxic effects on heart (1966)|
|coumarin||natural flavoring||Liver poison (1970)|
|cyclamate||artificial sweetener||Bladder cancer, damage to testes; now not thought to cause cancer directly, but to increase the potency of other carcinogens (1969).|
|diethyl pyrocarbonate (DEPC)||preservative (beverages)||Combines with ammonia to form urethane, a carcinogen (1972)|
|dulcin (p-ethoxy-phenylurea)||artificial sweetener||Liver cancer (1950)|
|ethylene glycol||solvent||Kidney damage (1998)|
|monochloroacetic acid||preservative||Highly toxic (1941)|
|nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA)||plant-derived antioxidant||Kidney damage (1968 by FDA, 1971 by USDA)|
|oil of calamus||natural flavoring||Intestinal cancer (1968)|
|polyoxyethylene-8-stearate (Myrj 45)||emulsifier||High levels caused bladder stones and tumors (1952)|
|safrole||natural flavoring (root beer)||Liver cancer (1960)|
|thiourea||preservative||Liver cancer (c. 1950)|
List of food additives
Table 2. Approved Food additives – alphabetical list 11
|Acacia or gum Arabic|
|Acetic acid, glacial|
|Acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol|
|Acetylated distarch adipate|
|Acetylated distarch phosphate|
|Acetylated oxidised starch|
|Acid treated starch|
|Alkaline treated starch|
|Alkanet or Alkannin|
|Allura red AC|
|Ammonium hydrogen carbonate|
|Ammonium phosphate, dibasic|
|Ammonium phosphate, monobasic or Ammonium dihydrogen phosphates|
|Ammonium salts of phosphatidic acid|
|Anthocyanins or Grape skin extract or Blackcurrant extract|
|Arabinogalactan or larch gum|
|Azorubine or Carmoisine|
|b-apo-8′-Carotenoic acid methyl or ethyl ester|
|Beeswax, white and yellow|
|Brilliant black BN or Brilliant Black PN|
|Brilliant Blue FCF|
|Calcium aluminium silicate|
|Calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate or calcium disodium EDTA|
|Calcium lignosulphonate (40-65)|
|Calcium oleyl lactylate|
|Calcium phosphate, dibasic or calcium|
|Calcium phosphate, monobasic or calcium dihydrogen phosphate|
|Calcium phosphate, tribasic|
|Calcium stearoyl lactylate|
|Carbon blacks or Vegetable carbon|
|Chlorophyllin copper complex, sodium and potassium salts|
|Citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol|
|Cochineal or carmines or carminic acid|
|Curcumin or turmeric|
|Cyclamate or calcium cyclamate or sodium cyclamate|
|Dextrin roasted starch|
|Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol|
|Dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate|
|Enzyme treated starches|
|Ethyl lauroyl arginate|
|Fatty acid salts of aluminium, ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium|
|Fast green FCF|
|Ferric ammonium citrate|
|Glucono δ-lactone or Glucono|
|Glycerin or glycerol|
|Glycerol esters of wood rosins|
|Hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate|
|Lactic and fatty acid esters of glycerol|
|Locust bean gum or carob bean gum|
|Magnesium phosphate, dibasic|
|Magnesium phosphate, monobasic|
|Magnesium phosphate, tribasic|
|Magnesium silicate or Talc|
|Maltitol and maltitol syrup or hydrogenated glucose syrup|
|Methyl ethyl cellulose|
|Methylparaben or Methyl-p-hydroxy-benzoate|
|Mixed tartaric, acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol or tartaric, acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol (mixed)|
|Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids|
|Monosodium L-glutamate or MSG|
|Natamycin or pimaricin|
|Petrolatum or petroleum jelly|
|Phosphated distarch phosphate|
|Polydimethylsiloxane or Dimethylpolysiloxane|
|Polyethylene glycol 8000|
|Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids|
|Polyglycerol esters of interesterified ricinoleic acid|
|Polyoxyethylene (40) stearate|
|Polysorbate 60 or Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate|
|Polysorbate 65 or Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate|
|Polysorbate 80 or Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monooleate|
|Potassium acetate or Potassium diacetate|
|Potassium aluminium silicate|
|Potassium dihydrogen citrate|
|Potassium phosphate, dibasic|
|Potassium phosphate, monobasic|
|Potassium phosphate, tribasic|
|Potassium sodium tartrate|
|Potassium tartrate or Potassium acid tartrate|
|Processed eucheuma seaweed|
|Propylene glycol alginate|
|Propylene glycol mono- and di-esters or Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids|
|Propylparaben or Propyl-p-hydroxy-benzoate|
|Proteases (papain, bromelain, ficin)|
|Quillaia extract (type 1)|
|Quillaia extract (type 2)|
|Saccharin or calcium saccharine or sodium saccharine or potassium saccharine|
|Saffron or crocetin or crocin|
|Silicon dioxide, amorphous|
|Sodium acid pyrophosphate|
|Sodium aluminium phosphate|
|Sodium dihydrogen citrate|
|Sodium hydrogen malate|
|Sodium metaphosphate, insoluble|
|Sodium oleyl lactylate|
|Sodium phosphate, dibasic|
|Sodium phosphate, monobasic|
|Sodium phosphate, tribasic|
|Sodium polyphosphates, glassy|
|Sodium stearoyl lactylate|
|Sorbitol or sorbitol syrup|
|Starch sodium octenylsuccinate|
|Stearic acid or fatty acid|
|Sucrose acetate isobutyrate|
|Sucrose esters of fatty acids|
|Sunset yellow FCF|
|Tannic acid or tannins|
|Tocopherols concentrate, mixed|
Symbols used in this list: A or α = alpha; β = beta; δ = delta; γ = gamma.
Color Additives Approved for Use in Human Food
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Chapter VII, section 721), color additives, except for coal tar hair dyes, are subject to FDA approval before they may be used in food, drugs, or cosmetics, or in medical devices that come in contact with the bodies of people or animals for a significant period of time 12.
Table 3. Color Additives Exempt from Batch Certification – Color Additives Approved for Use in Human Food
|21 CFR Section||Straight Color||EEC#||Year(2)Approved||Uses and Restrictions|
|§73.30||Annatto extract||E160b||1963||Foods generally.|
|§73.40||Dehydrated beets (beet powder)||E162||1967||Foods generally.|
|§73.75||Canthaxanthin(3)||E161g||1969||Foods generally, NTE(7) 30 mg/lb of solid or semisolid food or per pint of liquid food; May also be used in broiler chicken feed.|
|§73.90||β-Apo-8′-carotenal||E160e||1963||Foods generally, NTE(7): 15 mg/lb solid, 15 mg/pt liquid.|
|§73.100||Cochineal extract||E120||1969||Foods generally|
|2009||Food label must use common or usual name “cochineal extract”; effective January 5, 2011|
|2009||Food label must use common or usual name “carmine”; effective January 5, 2011|
|§73.125||Sodium copper chlorophyllin(3)||E141||2002||Citrus-based dry beverage mixes NTE(7) 0.2 percent in dry mix; extracted from alfalfa.|
|§73.140||Toasted partially defatted cooked cottonseed flour||—-||1964||Foods generally.|
|§73.160||Ferrous gluconate||—-||1967||Ripe olives.|
|§73.165||Ferrous lactate||—-||1996||Ripe olives.|
|§73.169||Grape color extract(3)||E163?||1981||Nonbeverage food.|
|§73.170||Grape skin extract (enocianina)||E163?||1966||Still & carbonated drinks & ades; beverage bases; alcoholic beverages (restrict. 27 CFR Parts 4 & 5).|
|§73.200||Synthetic iron oxide(3)||E172||1994||Sausage casings NTE(7) 0.1 percent (by wt).|
|2015||Hard and soft candy, mints and chewing gum.|
|2015||For allowed human food uses, reduce lead from ≤ 20 ppm to ≤ 5 ppm.|
|§73.250||Fruit juice(3)||—-||1966||Foods generally.|
|1995||Dried color additive.|
|§73.260||Vegetable juice(3)||—-||1966||Foods generally.|
|1995||Dried color additive, water infusion.|
|§73.300||Carrot oil||—-||1967||Foods generally.|
|§73.345||Paprika oleoresin||E160c||1966||Foods generally.|
|§73.350||Mica-based pearlescent pigments||—-||2006||Cereals, confections and frostings, gelatin desserts, hard and soft candies (including lozenges), nutritional supplement tablets and gelatin capsules, and chewing gum.|
|2013||Distilled spirits containing not less than 18 % and not more than 23 % alcohol by volume but not including distilled spirits mixtures containing more than 5 % wine on a proof gallon basis.|
|2015||Cordials, liqueurs, flavored alcoholic malt beverages, wine coolers, cocktails, nonalcoholic cocktail mixers and mixes and in egg decorating kits.|
|§73.530||Spirulina extract||—-||2013||Candy and chewing gum.|
|2014||Coloring confections (including candy and chewing gum), frostings, ice cream and frozen desserts, dessert coatings and toppings, beverage mixes and powders, yogurts, custards, puddings, cottage cheese, gelatin, breadcrumbs, and ready-to-eat cereals (excluding extruded cereals).|
|§73.575||Titanium dioxide||E171||1966||Foods generally; NTE(7) 1 percent (by wt).|
|§73.585||Tomato lycopene extract; tomato lycopene concentrate(3)||E160||2006||Foods generally.|
|§73.615||Turmeric oleoresin||E100||1966||Foods generally.|
Notes: (2) The year approved is based on the date listed in the “Confirmation of Effective Date” notice for the action as published in the Federal Register. (3) Petitioned for use after the 1960 amendments; not provisionally listed. (7) NTE – not to exceed.
Table 4. Color Additives Subject To Certification – Color Additives Approved for Use in Human Food
|21 CFR Section||Straight Color||EEC#||Year(2)Approved||Uses and Restrictions|
|§74.101||FD&C Blue No. 1||E133||1969||Foods generally.|
|1993||Added Mn spec.|
|§74.102||FD&C Blue No. 2||E132||1987||Foods generally.|
|§74.203||FD&C Green No. 3||—-||1982||Foods generally.|
|§74.250||Orange B(3)||—-||1966||Casings or surfaces of frankfurters and sausages; NTE(7) 150 ppm (by wt).|
|§74.302||Citrus Red No. 2||—-||1963||Skins of oranges not intended or used for processing; NTE(7) 2.0 ppm (by wt).|
|§74.303||FD&C Red No. 3||E127||1969||Foods generally.|
|§74.340||FD&C Red No. 40(3)||E129||1971||Foods generally.|
|§74.705||FD&C Yellow No. 5||E102||1969||Foods generally.|
|§74.706||FD&C Yellow No. 6||E110||1986||Foods generally.|
Note: Color additives listed in table 4 must be analyzed and batch certified by FDA before they can be used in any FDA-regulated product marketed in the U.S. This requirement applies to products imported into this country as well as those manufactured domestically. Manufacturers of certified color additives must include on the label the name of the certified color additive, a statement indicating general use limitations, any quantitative limitations in products, and the certification lot number assigned to the batch. Straight colors required to be certified are listed in 21 CFR Part 74. Most lakes are provisionally listed under 21 CFR 81.1 for use as listed in 21 CFR 82.51 (food, drugs, and cosmetics), 21 CFR 82.1051 (drugs and cosmetics), or 21 CFR 82.2051 (externally applied drugs and cosmetics). All FD&C Red No. 40 lakes are permanently listed under 21 CFR 74.340 (food), 74.1340 (drugs), and 74.2340 (cosmetics). FD&C Blue No. 1 and FD&C Yellow No. 5 aluminum lakes for drug and cosmetic use are permanently listed in 21 CFR sections 74.1101, 74.1705, 74.2101, and 74.2705.
Additional notes: (2) The year approved is based on the date listed in the “Confirmation of Effective Date” notice for the action as published in the Federal Register. (3) Petitioned for use after the 1960 amendments; not provisionally listed. (7) NTE – not to exceed.
Table 5. Approved Food Colours in the European Union
|E110||Sunset Yellow FCF; Orange Yellow S|
|E120||Cochineal; Carminic acid; Carmines|
|E124||Ponceau 4R; Cochineal Red A|
|E129||Allura Red AC|
|E131||Patent Blue V|
|E132||lndigotine; Indigo Carmine|
|E133||Brilliant Blue FCF|
|E140||Chlorophylls and chlorophyllins|
|E141||Copper complexes of chlorophyll and chlorophyllins|
|E150b||Caustic sulphite caramel|
|E150d||Sulphite ammonia caramel|
|E151||Brilliant Black BN; Black PN|
|E160b||Annatto; Bixin; Norbixin|
|E160c||Paprika extract; Capsanthian; Capsorubin|
|E162||Beetroot Red; Betanin|
|E172||Iron oxides and hydroxides|
Note: The list was last updated 21 July 2016.References
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Overview of Food Ingredients, Additives & Colors. https://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm094211.htm
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Additives. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/additives/additiveoverview/Pages/default.aspx
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Beeswax (901). http://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=265
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Sorbitol [420(i)]. http://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=183
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Sulfur dioxide (220). http://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=224
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ascorbic acid, L- (300). http://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=241
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Lecithin [322(i)]. http://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=77
- The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (https://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/ContactCFSAN/default.htm
- Dietary Emulsifier-Induced Low-Grade Inflammation Promotes Colon Carcinogenesis. Cancer Res. 2017 Jan 1;77(1):27-40. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-1359. Epub 2016 Nov 7. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/77/1/27.long
- Center for Science in the Public Interest. Chemical Cuisine. https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Alphabetical food additives list. www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/labelling/Documents/Food%20additives%20-%20alphabetical%20June%202016.docx
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Color Additives. https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/default.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Summary of Color Additives for Use in the United States in Foods, Drugs, Cosmetics, and Medical Devices. https://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm115641.htm
- Food Standards Agency. Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers. https://www.food.gov.uk/science/additives/enumberlist