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Annu Rev Nutr. 1981;1:175-205.

Metabolic fate of food colorants.


Evaluation of the chemical and biological data on synthetic and natural food colorants indicates that synthetic colorants in general have been studied more thoroughly than their natural counterparts. The increasing use of natural colorants in processed foods at levels higher than those found in natural sources has raised concern about deficiencies in knowledge, in some cases, of their exact chemical composition, stability, metabolic fate, and toxic potential. Additional studies, particularly of comparative metabolic fate in experimental animals and in man and of genotoxic potential, are required. Until studies with natural colorants comparable to those carried out with synthetic colorants have been completed and evaluated, greater safety of natural colorants cannot be assumed.

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