EU revises caramel colour limits

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 10th March 2011

Europe’s food safety watchdog has revised its Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) for a group of caramel colours used in food production.The European Food Safety Authority’s panel on food additives and nutrient sources said that it has set a group ADI covering all caramel colours of 300 mg per kg of body weight per day, with the acception of caramel E150c, which will have a more restrictive ADI of 100 mg/kg bw/day.

In a statement released this afternoon (8 March), the panel concluded that these caramel colours are neither genotoxic, nor carcinogenic and that there is no evidence to show that they have any adverse effects on human reproduction or for the developing child.

“The panel decided to set a lower ADI for caramel E 150c to take into account uncertainties related to possible effects on the immune system of one of its constituents. This means that within the group ADI of 300 mg/kg bw/day established for the four caramel colours, only 100 mg/kg bw/day can be made up by E150c,” Dr. John Christian Larsen, chair of the ANS panel, said.

The panel also warned that that adults and children who are “high consumers” of foods containing these colours could exceed the ADIs established for three of these colours (E150a, E150c, E150d) if they are used at the maximum levels reported by industry. Also, the panel concluded that in order to keep consumer exposure to the by-products of caramel colours as low as possible, it would be prudent to keep their levels in caramel colours as low as technologically feasible.

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