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Natural food dyes are obtained from natural raw materials.

The conditions for growth during cultivation and harvesting of the raw materials, e.g. incident sunlight and temperature, influence the resulting quality and quantity of the food colours.

As a consequence, product batches cannot simply be reproduced in identical quality; their composition and processing properties are subject to slight natural fluctuations.

During application of natural food colours, it should generally be remembered that their stability is limited in certain pH ranges and in the presence of heat and/or light, and their potential uses must be subjected to stability tests on the relevant final product.
Natural food colours have a shelf-life of approx. one year.
They are used in beverages, confectionery, fruit preparations, dairy products and ice-cream.

Natural food colours may be obtained from the following sources (list is not exhaustive):

Vegetable origin E100 Curcumin Turmeric
E101 Riboflavin Isolated from whey or fermentation
E140 Mg Chlorophyllin Grass, alfalfa, chlorophyll
E141 Cu Chlorophyll Grass, alfalfa, chlorophyll
E150 Caramel Caramel
E160 Carotene 700 known natural carotenoids
E161 Lutein Marigold (Tagetes)
E162 Betanin Beetroot
E163 Anthocyanins Grapes
Animal origin E120 Carmine / Carminic Acid Cochineal beetle
Mineral origin E171 Titanium dioxide / E172 Iron Oxide Ores



Like synthetic dyes, natural dyes have to be declared and must be indicated by their E numbers and/or their product names.

Quote: “... that the toxicological assessment of a dye generally has to be independent of whether it is of natural or synthetic origin.
A dye of natural origin is not necessarily harmless, since the most powerful poisons are natural products...”

(Source:  OTTERSTÄTTER, Gisbert: Färbung von Lebensmitteln, Arzneimitteln und Kosmetika, 3rd revised ed. 2007, page 23, B. Behrs Verlag GmbH & Co.KG, Hamburg).

Colour sample E - number Product name Color Index N° Color Index names Solubility / Quality POWDER Standard concentration min.% GRAN Standard concentration %
E 100 Curcumin / Turmeric 75300 C.I.Natural Yellow 3; Turmeric oleoresin 4.)  
E 101 Riboflavin Lactoflavin 4.)  
E 120 Carmine / Carminic Acid 75470 C.I.Natural Red 4; Cochineal Extract 4.)  
E 140(i) Mg Chlorophyll 75810 C.I.Natural Green 3 4.)  
E 140(ii) Mg Chlorophyllin 75815 C.I.Natural - Green 5 4.)  
E 141(i) Cu Chlorophyll 75810 C.I.Natural Green 3 4.)  
E 141(ii) Cu Chlorophyllin 75815 C.I.Natural Green 5 4.)  
E 153 Carbon Black (food grade) 77266* C.I.Food Black 3; C.I.Pigment Black 8 2.)  
E 160a Beta-Carotene 40800 C.I.Food Orange 5; beta-carotene 4.)  
E 160b Annatto 75120 C.I.Natural Orange 4; Bixin; Norbixin 4.)  
E 160c Paprika extract Capsanthin; Capsorubin 4.)  
E 160d Lycopene 75125 C.I.Natural Yellow 27 4.)  
E 160e Beta-Apo-8'-Carotenal 40820 C.I.Food Orange 6 4.)  
E 161b Lutein / Xanthophyll 75136 C.I.Natural Yellow 29 4.)  
E 162 Betanine / Beetroot Red Beetroot Red 4.)  
E 163 Anthocyanin Anthocyanin


The colours shown in the table are approximate.
Notes:   1.) Water soluble   2.) Dispersible   3.) Various concentrations available upon request.   4.) Available in a range of qualities.   X Details available upon request.  
All the food colours offered except E120 meet kosher requirements.