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Messages - CharlesH95

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Social Talk / Food colouring - what's all the hype about?
« on: January 31, 2022, 06:24:14 AM »
Why is colour added to food?
Colouring is added to foods for a number of different reasons. It can be added to food to:

Make it more appealing

Bring back the natural colours that may have been lost during food processing

Enhance the natural colours or to make the colour’s more ‘even’

Support the taste and enhancing the flavour perception of a food

Stimulate appetite



What is the difference between natural and synthetic colours?
Food colouring with natural substances has been used since approximately 1500 B.C. Natural food colours (dyes) are generally made from the colours found in plants and minerals. Some common natural sources of food colouring include, lycopene (which gives tomatoes their red colour), anthocyanins (which gives berries their purple colour), turmeric (yellow/gold), carotenoids (the yellow in carrots and pumpkin) and betanin (the red found in beetroot).

In the 1800s, synthetic dyes emerged which were made from petroleum or coal. This sparked the regulation of synthetic food colourings across many countries in the world, to ensure they were safe to use. Over the years, some food colours have been linked to health implications and they have since been banned for use within the New Zealand market. Synthetic (artificial) colours are often cheaper and more stable than their natural dye counterparts.

What are the safe levels of artificial colours?
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

All food additives, including food colours, must be assessed for safety by Food Standards Australia New Zealand before they are permitted to be added to our food. Safe levels are determined by calculating the “acceptable daily intake” (ADI). The ADI tells us how much of a specific food additive we can safely eat each day, throughout our life. The ADIs for synthetic colours has been set well below the level that could cause any adverse health effects. For artificial colours, the ADI is 40mg for each kilogram of body weight. Studies have found the average child in New Zealand eats less than 5% of the ADIs for synthetic colours. To exceed the ADI, a 70kg person would need to consume over 4 litres of soft drinks, or over a kilogram of sweets every day.


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