Palette of Our Palates: A Brief History of Food Coloring and the Future of Natural Food Dyes

Article ID: 556556

Released: 23-Sep-2009 4:05 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Newswise — Color plays a crucial role in the way consumers taste and perceive the food they eat. In the October 2009 issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, an article discusses the rooted history of food coloring and looks into the future of the food industry’s move toward all-natural food coloring.

Highlights from Adam Burrows’ article include the following:

• The history of food coloring regulations, beginning with the early 1800s when English chemist Friedrich Accum released a publication that listed the countless examples of foods that contained poisonous dyes and chemicals that masked the true nature of the product. It wasn’t until 1938 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the first version of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which included an entire section on the regulation of color additives.

• Natural colors have long faced criticisms that they are more expensive, less consistent and less potent than artificial alternatives. However, as the list of approved artificial colors has diminished under increased regulation by the FDA, manufactures have devoted more time and resources to developing natural color additives.

• Demand for natural food coloring has been growing, sparked by a general demand among consumers for all-natural products. As the food industry works with the health industry, the use of natural colors will become more prevalent not only for color but also for properties that could benefit for the health of children and adults.

The food industry currently sees a trend toward natural food products; however, synthetic colors will continue to play a role while the FDA and the food industry continue research in natural food coloring.

To read this comprehensive review visit:

About IFTThe Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit


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