The 7 Wonders of the Food Coloring World

The 7 Wonders of the Food Coloring World


In the process of making food or drink, especially mass-produced by machine, the accuracy of the end product's can be a bit skewed. Because certain colors are associated with certain flavors, and vice versa, food coloring was introduced in acknowledgment to its correlation to perceived flavors. Coloring has also been added to mask color loss, aid food identification, and for decoration, as in cake icing. Food Coloring even existed in the times of early Rome, when saffron, carrots, pomegranates, grapes, mulberries, spinach, beets, parsley, and flowers were employed as dyeing agents.

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Seven Major Food Color Additives

Today, because of chemical advances, not only are more vibrant and often superfluous colors available, but the usage of these chemicals is far more widespread. Often on a list of ingredients, one can find "for color" rather easily. However, until the Food and Drug Act of 1906, regulation for coloring was not in place for the United States of America. The current regulations allow for seven main dyeing agents.

Blue No. 1

First among the accepted list is Blue No. 1, or Brilliant Blue FCF, which creates -- as you might have guessed -- a medium blue shade. This coloring was actually banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, but has since been let back into most of the countries under the European Union. Blue No. 1 can be found in some dairy products, sweets, and drinks. Blue No. 1 uses coal tar as one of its components. Because of the use of coal tar, many organizations and circles are speaking out and boycotting products using colors with coal tar because it is a carcinogenic in large quantities, known to cause tumors in lab rats.

   bold blue skittles

It is also feared because only 50% of coal tar's components have been identified. One thing that Blue No. 1 does not cause is hyperactivity, which was disproved after testing. Only 95% of the coloring is absorbed by the body's gastro-intestinal lining.

Blue No. 2

dark blueberries   

Second is Blue No. 2, which is commonly added to tablets and capsules, but is also used in ice cream, sweets, baked goods, confectionery, and cookies. Also known as Indigotine, the color was extracted originally from several species of plant as well as one of the two famous Phoenician sea snails or from woad, but nearly all indigo dye produced today for food or textile is synthetic. It is possible to have an allergic to Blue No. 2.

Green No. 3

Green No. 3, or Fast Green FCF, can be used for tinned green peas and other vegetables, jellies, sauces, fish, desserts, and dry bakery mixes at level of up to 100 mg/kg. Fast Green FCF produces a sea green. Green No. 3 is poorly absorbed by the intestines.

   light green peas

Red No. 40

Red No. 40 was introduced as a replacement for Red No. 2 because Red No. 2, or Amaranth, was a suspected carcinogenic. It has the appearance of a dark red powder. Red No. 40 can be found in sweets, drinks and condiments, medications, and cosmetics. Despite the popular misconception, Allura Red AC is not derived from the cochineal insect. Red AC is derived from coal tar. Carmine (or Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4), however, is the coloring extracted from dried cochineal beetles. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Austria. It was once feared as a carcinogenic, but this has since been disproved. It has, however, caused allergic reactions in people as well as hyperactivity in children.

   dark red M&Ms

Red No. 3

bright red cherries   

Also known as Erythrosine, Red No. 3 is a cherry-pink coal tar-based food dye. It is also used in printing inks, as a biological stain, a dental plaque disclosing agent and a radiopaque medium. It is used in cherries, canned fruit, custard mix, sweets, baked goods, and snack foods. It can cause sensitivity to light and learning difficulties, can increase thyroid hormone levels and lead to hyperthyroidism, and was shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats in a study in 1990.

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Yellow No. 5

Yellow No. 5, or Tartrazine, is used for yellow coloring, but can also be used with Brilliant Blue FCF or Green S to produce various green shades. Use of tartrazine is banned in Norway and was banned in Austria and Germany, before European Parliament lifted the ban. Yellow No. 5 can be found in soft drinks, instant puddings, flavored chips (Doritos, etc), cake mixes, custard powder, soups, sauces, kool-aid, ice cream, ice lollies, candy, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles, pickles and other pickled products, certain brands of fruit squash, fruit cordial, chips, tim tams, and many convenience foods together with glycerin, lemon and honey products.

   yellow number 5 soda

Most famously is the now-termed urban legend that ingesting Yellow No. 5, or, more specifically, Mountain Dew, would lower a man's sperm count and shrink his testicles, possibly rendering him sterile. Tartrazine, however, does produce the most common allergic react, especially among those with an aspirin intolerance and ashtma. Some research has linked Yellow No. 5 to early childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and hyperactivity. It is banned in Austria and Norway.

Yellow No. 6

orange juice in a pitcher   

Also known as Sunset Yellow FCF, this dye is an orange coal tar-based food dye found in orange squash, orange jelly, marzipan, Swiss roll, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, fortune cookies, sweets, hot chocolate mix and packet soups, trifle mix, breadcrumbs and cheese sauce mix and soft drinks. It is the color most prominently seen in DayQuil. It is capable of causing allergic reactions such as abdominal pain, hyperactivity, hives, nasal congestion, and bronchoconstriction, as well as kidney tumours, chromosomal damage, and distaste for food.

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What's a Blue Lake 1?

The difference between dyes and lakes are in their solubility. Dyes will dissolve in water, but not oil while lakes are the opposite. Lakes are ideal for coloring products containing fats and oils or items lacking sufficient moisture to dissolve dyes. Typical uses include coated tablets, cake and donut mixes, hard candies and chewing gums, lipsticks, soaps, and shampoos.

A Rainbow of Natural & Synthetic Food Colors

While looking up the 7 major colors above we stumbled across a commercial website for a manufacturer of food colors and dyes, Rung International. This company makes and sells a wide range of colors... Some of the synthetic and natural colors are included below:

Synthetic Food Colors

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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors
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Synthetic Food Colors

Natural Food Colors

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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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Natural Food Colors
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38 Comments
Showing 31 - 38 of 38 Comments

wingedvictory

Ok...*Weazes* Well, I'm still alive!....

edikdolotina

thank you for this wonderful information. i am making a poster on food and this article help me a lot.

http://edikdolotina.blogspot.com/

rainbowsprinkles

Oh the many blue slushy runs of my childhood.

And the candies. And the kool-aid. I guess I'm going to die now. Oy vei...

anycolourilike

SCARY!!!! Thanks for the awesome article!!

blunklaura

MMMMMMM,coal tar
finger lickin' good

and i love blue raspberry drinks :(
*cries*

lunamoon

Wow! It's really amazing to learn how food colouring is made! I'll keep away from blue slushies forever from now on... but one wouldn't hurt now, would it?!!!
Thanks for the bonza article!!!!LOL :)

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