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Caramel colouring is caramel used as a food colouring; it is made by controlled heating of sugar, generally in the presence of acids or alkalis and possibly other compounds, a process called caramelization. Unlike caramel candy, it tends towards maximum oxidation of the sugar to produce a caramel concentrate that is unpalatable in its raw liquid form. Its colour ranges from dark brown to black.
There are four types of caramel, differing in their method of manufacture and application, each with its own E number:
Caramel colouring is the most widely-used food colouring, and is found in almost every kind of industrially produced food, including: beer, brown bread, buns, chocolate, biscuits, brandy, chocolate flavoured flour-based confectionery, coatings, decorations, fillings and toppings, crisps, dessert mixes, doughnuts, fish and shellfish spreads, frozen desserts, glucose tablets, cough drops, gravy browning, ice cream, jams, milk desserts, pancakes, pickles, sauces and dressings, soft drinks (particularly cola drinks), stouts, sweets, vinegar, whisky, and wines.
Caramel colouring can be produced from any sugar, but most commonly it is made from a high-dextrose starch hydrolysate or corn syrup. Various acids are generally added to break the chemical bonds in the sugars.
The colour of a caramel colouring can be specified using the Linner Hue Index for hue and tinctorial strength for the depth of colour.
Caramel colour is a colloid. It functions as an emulsifier in soft drinks.
The International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) has concluded that commercially-produced caramel has the same toxicological properties as caramel produced by cooking or heating sucrose, except for those prepared using ammonium (Class III and IV).
Despite widespread claims that caramel is toxic or carcinogenic, the IPCS has found no evidence of carcinogenicity or mutagenicity in its extensive studies.
The IPCS has set the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of Class I and II caramel colourings as "not limited"; that of Class III as 0-200 mg/kg body weight; and that of Class IV as 0-200 mg/kg.
The United States Food and Drug Administration classifies caramel colouring as generally recognized as safe.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Caramel_coloring". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|