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Q & A: Coloring food

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
What is food coloring made out of? How come all the dyes have numbers?
- Maritza
Carr, Santa Ana


Different colors of food coloring are made out of different ingredients. For pretty good list of these visit

According to Wikipedia,

"The numbering system has several purposes. First, it lets you know that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the coloring for consumer use. If the number is in the form "FD&C x," that means the chemical can be used in food, drugs, and cosmetics. If you see just a D&C, that means it was approved for only drugs and cosmetics, not food. Second, the numbers alert you that this is, in fact, an artificial coloring agent. Third, the numbers make for much easier label-reading than the actual chemical names. If there’s any question of safety--if, for example, the product is found to have long-term side effects--it’s also easier to yank off the shelf or avoid."

Good questions!

(published on 10/22/2007)

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