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J Food Sci. 2013 Apr;78(4):T642-7. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12068. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

All India survey for analyses of colors in sweets and savories: exposure risk in Indian population.

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  • 1Food, Drugs and Chemical Toxicology Group, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, UP, India.


In the present study, an attempt has been made to understand the exposure assessment of food colors through 2 major groups, sweets and savories, at a national level so as to evolve a scientific yardstick to fix levels of colors in commodities based on technological and safety requirement. A vast majority of colored food commodities (83.6%) were found to employ permitted colors and confirmed a marked decline in the trend of use of nonpermitted colors (NPCs). Of the 4 zones of India, East zone showed the maximum adulteration (80.3%) both by exceeding the prescribed limits of permitted colors (72.3%) and the use of NPCs (28.7%). Tartrazine was the most popular color among the permitted list, which ranged from 12.5 to 1091 mg/kg. Rhodamine B was the most prevalent dye in the NPCs group. On the basis of average consumption of food commodities and average levels of detected colors, the intake of Sunset Yellow FCF saturates the acceptable daily intake limit to a maximum of 47.8% in children, which is a cause of concern. The uniform maximum permissible limit of synthetic colors at 100 mg/kg under the Indian rules thus needs to be reviewed and should rather be governed by the technological necessity and the consumption profiles of food commodities so that the vulnerable population should not unnecessary be exposed to excessive amounts of synthetic colors to pose health risks.

Ā© 2013 Institute of Food TechnologistsĀ®

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