There are an innumerable ingredients recognized by the FDA and the European Commonwealth that are coal tar and petroleum derivatives allowed as colors, preservatives, etc ... to be food additives and ingredients in our foods and beverages!

Food Ingredients & Colors

Natural additives vs Synthetic Coal Tar or Petroleum additives

 Section I

Purpose of food coloring

A food coloring or colouring is any substance that is added to food to change its color. People associate certain colors with certain flavors. Because of this, 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 foods with bright or unnatural colors (such as the green ketchup mentioned above or children's cereals such as Froot Loops) likely contain food coloring, few people know that apparently "natural" foods such as oranges are sometimes also dyed to mask natural variations in color.[2] Color variation in foods throughout season 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:

Regulation - Food colorings are tested for safety by various bodies around the world. In the United States, FD&C (standing for the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) numbers are given to approved dyes, while in the European Union, E numbers are used. The FDA receives compensation for every pound of food dye it certifies (not inspects), which many see as a conflict of interest in regard to the safety of these dyes.[citation needed] The American food industry uses 3000 tons of food color per year.[citation needed]

Natural food dyes - Caramel coloring is found in Coca-Cola and other cola products. It is made from caramelized sugar. Annatto is a reddish-orange dye made from the seed of a tropical tree. Chlorella is green, and derived from algae. Cochineal is a red dye derived from cochineal insects. Beet juice, turmeric, saffron and paprika are also used as colorants.

Health problems - Although regulatory authorities like the FDA in the United States have banned many products from use in food due to safety concerns, debate still rages over the safety of those artificial colorings that are still permitted.

In the USA, for example, only the following seven artificial colorings are permitted in food (the most common in bold):

Dyes and lakes -

In the United States, certifiable color additives are available for use in food as either "dyes" or "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.

Lakes are the combination of dyes and insoluble material. 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 donut mixes, hard candies and chewing gums.

Other uses - Because they 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 bodypainting. Food coloring can also serve as a temporary fabric dye.

Types of Food additives and Ingredients

The following summary lists the types of common food ingredients, why they are used, and some examples of the names that can be found on product labels. Some additives are used for more than one purpose.

Types of Ingredients

What They Do

Examples of Uses

Names Found on Product Labels


Prevent food spoilage from bacteria, molds, fungi, or yeast (antimicrobials); slow or prevent changes in color, flavor, or texture and delay rancidity (antioxidants); maintain freshness Fruit sauces and jellies, beverages, baked goods, cured meats, oils and margarines, cereals, dressings, snack foods, fruits and vegetables Ascorbic acid, citric acid, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, calcium sorbate, potassium sorbate, BHA, BHT, EDTA, tocopherols (Vitamin E)


Add sweetness with or without the extra calories Beverages, baked goods, confections, table-top sugar, substitutes, many processed foods Sucrose (sugar), glucose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), neotame

Color Additives

Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to
colorless and “fun” foods
Many processed foods, (candies, snack foods margarine, cheese, soft drinks, jams/jellies, gelatins, pudding and pie fillings) FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) and No. 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)

Flavors and Spices

Add specific flavors (natural and synthetic) Pudding and pie fillings, gelatin dessert mixes, cake mixes, salad dressings, candies, soft drinks, ice cream, BBQ sauce Natural flavoring, artificial flavor, and spices

Flavor Enhancers

Enhance flavors already present in foods (without providing their own separate flavor) Many processed foods Monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate or inosinate

Fat Replacers (and components of formulations used to replace fats)

Provide expected texture and a creamy “mouth-feel” in reduced-fat foods Baked goods, dressings, frozen desserts, confections, cake and dessert mixes, dairy products Olestra, cellulose gel, carrageenan, polydextrose, modified food starch, micro- particulated egg white protein, guar gum, xanthan gum, whey protein concentrate


Replace vitamins and minerals lost in processing (enrichment), add nutrients that may be lacking in the diet (fortification) Flour, breads, cereals, rice, macaroni, margarine, salt, milk, fruit beverages, energy bars, instant breakfast drinks 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)


Allow smooth mixing of ingredients, prevent separation, keep emulsified products stable, reduce stickiness, control crystallization, keep ingredients dispersed,
and to help products
dissolve more easily
Salad dressings, peanut butter, chocolate, margarine, frozen desserts Soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, egg yolks, polysorbates, sorbitan monostearate

Stabilizers and Thickeners, Binders, Texturizers

Produce uniform texture, improve “mouth-feel” Frozen desserts, dairy products, cakes, pudding and gelatin mixes, dressings, jams and jellies, sauces Gelatin, pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, whey

Leavening Agents

Promote rising of baked goods Breads and other baked goods Baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate

Anti-caking agents

Keep powdered foods free-flowing, prevent moisture absorption Salt, baking powder, confectioner’s sugar Calcium silicate, iron ammonium citrate, silicon dioxide


Retain moisture Shredded coconut, marshmallows, soft candies, confections Glycerin, sorbitol

Yeast Nutrients

Promote growth of yeast Breads and other baked goods Calcium sulfate, ammonium phosphate

Dough Strengtheners and Conditioners

Produce more stable dough Breads and other baked goods Ammonium sulfate, azodi- carbonamide, L-cysteine

Firming Agents

Maintain crispness and firmness Processed fruits and vegetables Calcium chloride, calcium lactate

Enzyme Preparations

Modify proteins, polysaccharides and fats Cheese, dairy products, meat Enzymes, lactase, papain, rennet, chymosin


Serve as propellant, aerate, or create carbonation Oil cooking spray, whipped cream, carbonated beverages Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide

Natural Food Color Additives

Ingredients found from Phytone who is a is a major manufacturer of natural colours and other naturally derived ingredients for the food industry located in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK. and from

Anthcyannins E163 - are the mainly red pigments that are responsible for the colors of many edible fruits and berries. They also contribute to the colors of some vegetables and flowers. Together with carotenoids, they provide us with the attractive autumnal colors. The majority of anthocyanins provide red and purple shades. They are normally extracted from the raw material using alcohol or acidified water. Anthocyanin pigments are glycosides of anthocyanidins. They are water soluble and convenient to use. Stability to heat and light is generally good, especially if the more polymeric anthocyanins, such as those derived from grape skins are selected. pH change affects their shade and stability and in general they are used in products whose pH is below 4.5. They are particularly recommended for the coloring of soft drinks, jams, most types of sugar confectionery and other acidic products such as fruit toppings and sauces.

Beetroot Red E162 - is obtained by the aqueous extraction of red table beet (Beta vulgaris). It consists of two principle pigments, betanin and vulgaxanthin. Freely soluble in water, it provides an intense red color that is convenient to use. It has limited stability to heat, light and sulphur dioxide and its shelf-life in finished products may be partially determined by the water activity of the system in which it is used. Using liquid or powder preparations a wide range of products can be colored with this material. Short shelf-life, low moisture or frozen products such as flavored milks, yogurts, dry dessert mixes and ice creams may all benefit from the use of this intense, bright red colorant.

Paprika E160c - is obtained from sweet red peppers (Capsicum annuum) using a solvent extraction process to prepare an oleoresin. Paprika is well recognized as a spice and it is a popular ingredient of many recipe dishes. The extract contains principally two carotenoid pigments, capsanthin and capsorubin. Both pigments are oil soluble and provide a rich orange/red hue depending upon the concentration used. When used for coloring purposes, paprika extracts invariably contribute a spicy flavor and they are generally more suited to either savoury or lightly colored products. Although sensitive to oxidation these pigments are stable to heat and are unaffected by changes of pH.

Annatto E160b - is from the seeds of the annatto bush (Bixa orellana) have long been recognized and used in some cultures to provide both color and flavor to the diet. Annatto seeds give two pigments:

Both pigments are carotenoids and may therefore be adversely affected by light and oxygen. In extreme cases it is helpful to protect pigments using ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Norbixin is sensitive to sulphur dioxide at levels in excess of 100 ppm, whereas hard water or low pH conditions can lead to pigment precipitation. Norbixin is heat stable and provides an orange hue. It is frequently offered as a blend with other pigments, especially curcumin, to ensure that precise yellow/orange shades are achieved. Traditionally the main use of norbixin has been in cheese coloration, but it is used in a much wider variety of applications including breadcrumbs, flour confectionery, dairy products and ice cream.

Curcumin E100 - is the principle pigment of turmeric, a spice that is obtained from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa. As the spice turmeric, curcumin has been a component of the diet for many years. Obtained by extraction from the plant to produce an oleoresin which is then purified, curcumin provides a bright, strong yellow shade in solution. It is an oil soluble pigment that is available in convenient water dispersible forms that are used in a wide range of foods. Curcumin is extremely heat stable and may generally be used in products throughout the acid pH range. It is sensitive to sulphur dioxide at levels in excess of 100 ppm and shows poor stability when exposed to light. It may be used in a variety of applications including ice creams, sorbets, dairy products, dry mixes and some types of sugar confectionery products.

Lutein E161b - is the yellow xanthophyll (Tagetes erecta) found in all green leaves and is responsible for the attractive yellow orange color of marigold flowers. It is nutritionally important and is found in human blood and tissues, including the region of the retina known as the macula lutea. Here it acts as an antioxidant and absorbs high-energy blue light thus protecting the sensitive rods and cones. Although lutein is oil soluble it is also available in specially formulated water dispersible forms and thus finds application in a wide range of food and drinks. It is also important in the poultry industry where its inclusion in the feed can enhance skin color and the depth and shade of the egg yolk. In common with other carotenoids, it is stable to heat and acid but is susceptible to oxidation. The addition of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and tocopherols can overcome this problem.

Chlororophyll E140 - is the green pigment that is found in all plants that are capable of photosynthesis and it has thus always been a component of the diet. The pigment is obtained by solvent extraction from three main sources, grass, alfalfa and nettles. It is an oil soluble pigment that provides an olive green shade of color.

Copper Chlorophyllin E141 - is obtained by the coppering of chlorophyll following its alkaline hydrolysis. The improved stability and brightness of copper chlorophyllin leads to its much wider use than chlorophyll as a food color.

Available in both liquid and powder preparations, copper chlorophyllin produces a blue green shade when dissolved in water and is frequently blended with curcumin to provide lime green tints. Its stability to heat and light is good but precipitation can occur if it is used in acidified systems. Chlorophyll and copper chlorophyllin products are especially useful in sugar confectionery, dairy products, sauces, pickles, jams and dry mixes.

More Natural Food Colorings can be found below  from Unicorn Natural Products (P) Ltd.

Natural Colors (Specifications)

 Botanical Name

Common Name

Types of Color

Parts Used

 Acacia Catechu


 Brown Colour 


 Bixa Orellana 


 Orange Yellow Colour 


 Butea Monosperma 

 Flame of the forest

 Yellow Orange Colour 


 Carthamus Tinctorius 


 Red & Yellow Colour 


 Crocus Sativus 


 Yellow Colour 


 Curcuma Longa 


 Yellow Colour 


 Hibiscus Sabdariffa 


 Bright Red Colour 


 Indigofera Tinctoria 

 Natural indigo

 Blue Colour 


 Lawsonia Inermis


 Orange Colour 


 Mallotus Phillippensis

 Kamala Tree

 Red Colour 


 Punica Granatum


 Yellow Red 


 Rubia Cordifolia

 Indian Madder

 Orange Colour 

 Root & Stem

 Tagetes Erecta 


 Yellow Colour 


 Terminalia Arjuna


 Red Color 


 Terminalia Ballerica

 Balleric Myrobalam

 Yellow Brown 


 Wrightia Tinctoria

 Pala Indigo Plant

 Blue Colour 


This is only a partial list. For further details contact us at: 

Section II

Table 1. Color Additives Permitted For Direct Addition
To Human Food In The United States

Certifiable Colors Colors Exempt from Certification
FD&C Blue No.1 (Dye and Lake), FD&C Blue No.2 (Dye and Lake), FD&C Green No.3 (Dye and Lake), FD&C Red No.3 (Dye), FD&C Red No.40 (Dye and Lake), FD&C Yellow No.5 (Dye and Lake), FD&C Yellow No.6 (Dye and Lake), Orange B*, Citrus Red No.2* Annatto extract, B-Apo-8'-carotenal*, Beta-carotene, Beet powder, Canthaxanthin, Caramel color, Carrot oil, Cochineal extract (carmine); Cottonseed flour, toasted partially defatted, cooked; Ferrous gluconate *, Fruit juice, Grape color extract*, Grape skin extract* (enocianina), Paprika, Paprika oleoresin, Riboflavin, Saffron, Titanium dioxide*, Turmeric, Turmeric oleoresin, Vegetable juice
*These food color additives are restricted to specific uses.

Table II. Color Additives Certifiable For Food Use

Name/Common Name Hue


Common Food Uses
FD&C Blue No.1
Brilliant Blue FCF
Bright blue


Beverages, dairy products powders, jellies, confections, condiments, icings, syrups, extracts
FD&C Blue No.2
Royal Blue


Baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, cherries
FD&C Green No.3
Fast Green FCF
Sea Green


Beverages, puddings, ice cream, sherbert, cherries, confections, baked goods, dairy products
FD&C Red No.40
Allura Red AC


Gelatins, puddings, dairy products, confections, beverages, condiments
FD&C Red No.3


Cherries in fruit cocktail and in canned fruits for salads, confections, baked goods, dairy products, snack foods
FD&C Yellow No.5
Lemon Yellow


Custards, beverages, ice cream, confections, preserves, cereals
FD&C Yellow No.6
Sunset Yellow
Orange  Cereals, baked goods, snack foods, ice cream, beverages, dessert powders, confections

January 1993 - Food and Drug Administration HFI 140 at 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, MD., 20857 in cooperation with International Food Information Council Foundation, 1100 Connecticut Ave, N.W. Suite 430, Washington, D.C. 20036


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