Safety of Colors

Color additives are commonly used in a wide variety of foods and beverages and are among the most widely studied food ingredients due primarily to regulatory requirements in the United States and Europe.

Most color additives have been extensively studied in a wide variety of toxicology studies including toxicity and carcinogenicity studies, reproduction studies, studies of metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and genetic toxicology assays.  Much of the data on the safety of color additives have been published and are therefore available to the public. The relatively small number of color additives used globally permits more attention to be given to the safety assessment of individual materials.

In the US, color additives are subject to the Food and Drug Administration’s most extensive safety assessment procedures as described in the FDA Redbook.   FDA’s regulations mandate that color additives be subject to the same safety assessment requirements regardless of source; color additives from natural or synthetic sources must be treated the same.

Ensuring the safety of color ingredients used in the products consumers enjoy and maintaining the public’s confidence in that safety is the color industry’s primary goal. IACM, which represents both color manufacturers and consumer product companies that use color, understands that the safety of the food supply is of paramount importance to all consumers.  Our industry remains vigilant about the safety of our products through additional testing and close monitoring of new scientific developments related to color additive safety.

IACM Color Safety Resources: