Beet Red

INS No. 162
Dehydrated beets
Beet powder
Beetroot Red
EINECS No. 231-628-5
CAS No. 7659-95-2
beet red
Physical Description
Beetroot Red is obtained by extracting the juice of Beet roots (Beta vulgaris L.). It is composed of both red pigments (betacyanins) and yellow pigments (betaxanthins), which are collectively known as betalains. Betanin, one of the betacyanins, is the main coloring principle of beetroot red. Beetroot red is miscible with water and insoluble in ethanol. It is reasonably stable in light and when it is used from pH 4 to pH 7. The degradation of beet colorant may occur at temperatures as low as 50° C, especially when exposed to air or light. It is most stable to heat in the pH range 4.0 to 5.0. Beetroot red is available as a liquid, paste, or solid, depending upon the degree of processing. Beetroot Red gives a bright red to bluish red color.
Common Uses
Beet red is used to color hard candies, yogurt, ice creams and frozen desserts, salad dressings, ready-made frostings, cake mixes, meat and meat substitutes, powdered drink mixes, gravy mixes, biscuit filling, marshmallow candies, fruit preparations, convenience foods, soft drinks, and gelatin desserts.
EU Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012
Codex Provisions
Beet red is a food additive that is included in Table 3 of the General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA), and as such may be used in specified foods under the conditions of good manufacturing practices (GMP) as outlined in the Preamble of the Codex GSFA. Beet red can also be used in heat-treated butter milk of food category 01.1.1 and spices of food category 12.2.1. and is acceptable in foods conforming to the Codex Standard for Bouillons and Consommes (CS 117-1981).
Regulatory Approvals/Consumption Limits
US: Dehydrated beets may be safely used for the coloring of foods generally in amounts consistent with GMP (21 CFR 73.40)
JECFA: An ADI ‘not specified’ was established at the 31st JECFA (1987).
EC: EFSA has concluded that beetroot red is not of safety concern as regards its current use as a food additive. (EFSA, 2015). EFSA has also established MPLs for use of beetroot red in foods and beverages in Europe according to Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008.
Safety Assessment
Beetroot red is not genotoxic by weight of evidence analysis. The acute oral toxicity (LD50) of beetroot red has not been reported. However 2000 ppm of the pigment, which was fed to rats for 7 days without toxic effects, is approximately 50-100 times the amount used as a food colorant. Rats given 50 mg/kg bw pure betanin in a 14-day feeding study were not adversely affected. There were no signs of carcinogenicity in rats administered 50-77.5 mg betanin/kg bw/day via drinking water for 800 days. No adverse effects were seen when two successive generations of rats were given 50-77.5 mg betanin/kg/day via the drinking water for 800 days. When infants were given beets, the pigment was rapidly excreted in the urine. The amount of pigment recovered in the urine depended on the amount of beet ingested. Although intravenous injection of betanin in rats resulted in the immediate excretion of unchanged pigment in the urine, oral doses of it were poorly absorbed by rats, with only 3% of the dose being recovered in the urine and 3% in the feces after 24 hours. In vitro studies revealed that betanin was largely metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract. Orally administered betanin is poorly absorbed because the majority of it is metabolized in the gut.
Safety Reviews
EFSA ANS Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food), 2015. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of beetroot red (E 162) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2015;13(12):4318, 55pp. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4318. Available online.JECFA (1987). Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. Thirty -first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Technical Report Series No. 759. Available online.

Full safety monograph, including references, available to IACM members or upon request.