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Food Colours

Food Colours

Food colouring agents are either natural or artificial substance, is added to a food item to influence the appetite and mask the natural variations in colour.

It was officially the first set of food additives added to the E-numbers in 1962.
A natural colouring agent is a dye or pigment derived from fruits, vegetables, algae and in some cases, insects too.
Some of the common colours derived from natural sources are
- Green from Chlorophyll,
- Orange, Red from Carrots, Tomatoes,
- Yellow from Curcumin which is the main component of Turmeric,
- Red, Purple, Blue from the Carotenoids present in Beetroots, Apricots, Oranges,
- Maroon, Violet from the Anthocyanins present in Red Cabbage, Grapes,
- Cochineal, a red color additive derived from Cochineal Scale (a scale insect). It gives shades of red colour to yogurts, sauces, soft drinks, and pastries.

Synthetic colours are manufactured by complex chemical combinations. Its widely preferred in the food industry because of its low cost. Some of the Synthetic colours are Quinoline Yellow, Allura Red, Sunset Yellow, Brilliant Blue, Indigo Carmine, Tartrazine.

Any ingredient that is coded as and from E100 to E199 refers to the food colouring agents.

Irrespective of whether it is naturally derived or synthetic colours, the food safety regulations have prescribed the desired levels of usage for all food colours.

Its commonly used in Jams, Sauces, tinned products, Ice creams, Soup mixes, Pastries, Cake mixes and Soft drinks.