What is a Colour Additive?
A color additive is any dye, pigment or substance that can impart color when added or applied to a food, drug, or cosmetic, or to the human body. Color additives may be used in foods, drugs, cosmetics, and certain medical devices such as contact lenses. Color additives are used in foods for many reasons, including to offset color loss due to storage or processing of foods and to correct natural variations in food color.
Colors permitted for use in foods are classified as certified or exempt from certification. Certified colors are manmade, with each batch being tested by the manufacturer and FDA to ensure that they meet strict specifications for purity. There are nine certified colors approved for use in the United States. One example is FD&C Yellow No.6,which is used in cereals, bakery goods, snack foods and other foods.
Color additives that are exempt from certification include pigments derived from natural sources such as vegetables,minerals or animals. For example, caramel color is produced commercially by heating sugar and other carbohydrates under strictly controlled conditions for use in sauces, gravies, soft drinks, baked goods and other foods. Most colors exempt from certification also must meet certain legal criteria for specifications and purity.