Food Colourants

Verband der Mineralfarben Industrie VDMI - LebensmittelfarbenFood colourants are used to make colourless or unsightly foodstuffs, e. g. some sweets, desserts and beverages, optically attractive or to restore the natural colour of foods whose colouring is impaired in the manufacturing process. Moreover food colourants make an important contribution to drug safety, as they help to avoid mix-ups of medicinal products. In the cosmetics sector food colourants and other specifically authorised cosmetic colourants, i. a. perlescent pigments, fulfill the demand of consumers for attractive looking products or their wish to make themselves look attractive. Furthermore food colourants are found in a wide range of detergents and cleaning products.

The most important fields of application for food colourants are in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
Irrespective of this large variety of uses, the per capita consumption of food colourants in products for human consumption (including medicinal products) is low, amounting to under 2 grams per annum in Germany.

In the European Union the use of food colourants (restriction to certain foodstuffs, maximum quantities) and cosmetic colourants as well as the purity requirements to both types of products is regulated in several EC directives and regulations. There are applications not only for soluble food colourants but also for insoluble aluminum lakes and pigments.

Verband der Mineralfarben Industrie VDMI - LebensmittelfarbenMany German manufacturers of food colourants and cosmetic colourants are members of our association.




Relevant literature:

  • Coloring of Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Gisbert Otterstätter, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York/Basel, 1999
  • Die Färbung von Lebensmitteln, Arzneimitteln, Kosmetika, Gisbert Otterstätter, Behr's Verlag GmbH & Co., Hamburg 1995
  • Das neue Zusatzstoffrecht, Bettina Muermann, BLL, Ernährungs-Umschau 45(1998), Heft 7, Teil 3: Farbstoffe in Lebensmitteln
  • Zusatzstoffe in Lebensmitteln, Herausgeber: Bund für Lebensmittelrecht und Lebensmittelkunde e.V., Bonn (
Members Food Colourants