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Food Coloring

Food coloring and food dyes have been used throughout history, although until recently, most food coloring was natural and didn't include the artificial food dyes that are commonly used today.

For example, saffron is a natural food coloring that has been used to add a yellow color to foods since the early Roman Empire and even before then, in Egypt.

Food Coloring

Although we often think about the food coloring in sugary kids' cereals, such as Cocoa Pebbles, Lucky Charms, and Trix, food coloring can also be used to make other foods more appealing.

Food coloring is used to make certain foods have a more uniform color, to simulate the color of fruits and vegetables that aren't actually in the food, and in many foods that are targeted at kids to make them more fun looking.

Commonly used artificial food coloring agents include:

  • Blue 1, a bright blue food dye that is commonly used in beverages, dairy products powders, jellies, confections, condiments, icings, syrups, and extracts
  • Blue 2, royal blue food dye that is commonly used in baked goods, cereals, snack foods, ice cream, confections, and cherries
  • Green 3, a sea green food dye that is commonly used in beverages, puddings, ice cream, sherbet, cherries, confections, baked goods, and dairy products
  • Red 40, an orange-red food dye that is commonly used in gelatins, puddings, dairy products, confections, beverages, and condiments
  • Red 3, a cherry-red food dye that is commonly used in cherries in fruit cocktail and in canned fruits for salads, confections, baked goods, dairy products, and snack foods
  • Yellow 5, a lemon-yellow food dye that is commonly used in custards, beverages, ice cream, confections, preserves, and cereals
  • Yellow 6, an orange food dye that is commonly used in cereals, baked goods, snack foods, ice cream, beverages, dessert powders, and confections

Natural food coloring agents are also used in many foods, and in addition to saffron, include beet juice, annatto extract, and caramel color.

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