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J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Sep;51(9):1686-96. doi: 10.1007/s13197-012-0633-z. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Food caramels: a review.

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Department of Food Engineering and Technology, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, Dst, Sangrur, Punjab India Pin 148106.


Caramel, defined as coloring agent and as an antioxidant, is being used in several kinds of food products. It has been classified into 4 classes to satisfy the requirement of several food and beverage systems. The variation in its consistency owing to its basic content of milk solids, sugars, and fat has been studied. Several methods have been found to estimate the amount of color provided by caramel in food products. Various formulations have been cited for the production of caramel by eradicating the frequent areas of problems during its processing. Caramel has been used as a synthetic colorant replacer in the baking and beverage industries. Researchers have aimed to ascertain the contribution to the antioxidant activity of some caramel-containing soft drinks. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of Class I caramel color as "not specified"; that of Class II as 0-160 mg/kg body weight; that of Class III as 0-200 mg/kg body weight; and that of Class IV as 0-200 mg/kg body weight. This paper is an overview of the classification, physicochemical nature, formulations, coloring properties, antioxidant properties, and toxicity of caramel in different food systems.


Antioxidants; Caramel; Color; Maillard reaction; Toxicity

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