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Issues related to Usage of Artificial Food ColoursBY: Divya Narayan | Category: Issues | Submitted: 2014-01-03 06:15:54
Article Summary: "Artificial food colours are also known as synthetic food colours as they are synthesized in a completely artificial environment. These colours are mainly derived from coal tar and petroleum. The consumption of these artificial food colours can have a negative impact on the health of an individual .."
Issues related to usage of artificial food colours.
Food Colours and Types
A food colour is any pigment which is used to impart colour to food. Food colours are regarded as additives, that is, they add value to food by enhancing its appearance.
The types of food colours used are as follows -
• Natural food colours - These food colours are obtained from completely natural sources.
• Nature-identical food colours - These food colours possess the same chemistry as natural food colours but are artificially synthesized.
• Artificial food colours - These food colours are synthesized under completely artificial conditions. They are the most widely-used type of food colours. They are labeled as "FCF" (For Colouring Food).
Need for food colours
• Enhancement of appearance
• Improved colour and taste
• Compensation for colour loss due to exposure to heat or light
• Hiding colour variations
Artificial Food Colours - What's The Issue?
Artificial food colours are also known as synthetic food colours as they are synthesized in a completely artificial environment. These colours are mainly derived from coal tar and petroleum. The consumption of these artificial food colours can have a negative impact on the health of an individual as given in the table below -
Alternatives to artificial food colours
As seen in the above table, consumption of artificial food colours leads to various health hazards. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to replace artificial food colouring with "safer" alternatives. Various food colours can be obtained from completely natural sources, known as natural food colours.
Some of the natural sources of food colours are given below -
Food Colour | Natural Source
• Blue - Spirulina (FDA approved) ; red cabbage juice with baking soda. (purple turns blue)
• Green - Copper chlorohyllin (from alfalfa) ; powdered green tea; leaves of mint, coriander, spinach
• Red - Red beet, hibiscus, pomegranate
• Yellow - Turmeric, saffron, white onion, yellow marigold
• Pink - Strawberries, raspberries
• Brown - Chocolate, cocoa, caramelized sugar
• Orange - Carrots, orange juice, orange marigold
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