Anthocyanins

Identifiers

E Number: E163

INS Number: 163
-163(ii) Grape skin extract (Enociania, Eno)
-163(iii) Blackcurrant extract
-163(iv) Purple corn color
-163(v) Red cabbage color
-163 (vi) Black carrot extract
-163 (vii) Purple sweet potato color
-163 (viii) Red radish color
-163(ix) Elderberry color
-163(x) Hibiscus color

Physical Description

Anthocyanins are widely distributed in the plant kingdom where they occur as glycosides (i.e. associated with a sugar moiety) in combinations that produce red, blue or purple coloration in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Grape color extract and grape skin extract (enocianina) are anthocyanin-containing color additives approved for use in the United States. Grape color extract is an aqueous solution of grape anthocyanin pigments made from concord grapes or a dehydrated water-soluble powder prepared from the aqueous solution. The aqueous solution is prepared by extracting the pigments from precipitated lees produced during the storage of concord grape juice. It contains the common components of grape juice, namely anthocyanins, tartrates, malates, sugars, and minerals but not in the same proportion as found in grape juice. Water-soluble pigments such as 3-mono-and 3,5-di-glucosides of malvidin, delphinidin and cyanidin, and their acylated derivatives, are responsible for the purple color of grape color extract. The color intensity increases as pH falls, with stability being greatest below pH 4.5. Grape skin extract is a purplish-red liquid prepared by the aqueous extraction (steeping) of the fresh deseeded marc remaining after grapes have been pressed to produce grape juice or wine. It contains the common components of grape juice, namely, anthocyanins, tartric acid, tannins, sugars, minerals, etc., but not in the same proportions as found in grape juice. During the steeping process, sulphur dioxide is added and most of the extracted sugars are fermented to alcohol. The extract is concentrated by vacuum evaporation, during which most of the alcohol is removed.

Common Uses

Anthocyanins are used to color beverages, confectionary, desserts, ice cream, fruit preparations, bakers jam and non-standard jellies and preserves, sherbets, ices, pops, raspberry, yogurt, gelatin desserts, candy, and bakery fillings and toppings.

Specifications

US FDA

JECFA

EU defined in Commission Regulation (EU) No 23/2012

Codex Provisions

Grape Skin Extract is added to foods and beverages at concentrations up to a maximum permitted level (MPL) as established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and published in the General Standard of Food Additives (GSFA).

Regulatory Approvals

JECFA: ADI of 0-2.5 mg/kg bw for grape skin extract (26th report, 1982).

USA: Grape color extract is a color additive exempt from certification and permanently listed for food use in nonbeverage food only (21 CFR 73.169). Grape skin extract (enocianina) is a color additive exempt from certification and permanently listed for food use in still and carbonated drinks and ades, beverage bases and alcoholic beverages (in accordance with Parts 4 & 5 of 27 CFR) (21 CFR 73.170).

EU: ADI not established (EFSA, 2013). Maximum Permitted Levels (MPLs) have been defined in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011.

Safety Assessment

Anthocyanins are not genotoxic by a weight of evidence analysis. The extremely low acute oral toxicity of mixed anthocyanins (cyanidin, delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin) is demonstrated by mouse and rat LD50 values greater than 25 and 20 g/kg bw, respectively. Welch’s grape color extract administered to rats at 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20% of the diet produced no toxic signs or effects over the 30-day testing period. No overt signs of toxicity were seen in rats given oral doses of 3000 mg/day mixed anthocyanins for 90 days. No adverse effects occurred when dogs were fed a diet containing 15% grape color powder for 13 weeks or grape color extract for 90 consecutive days. No adverse effects on reproduction occurred when grape color extract was fed to rats at dietary levels of 7.5 % and 15 % through two generations. There were no teratogenic effects in multigeneration studies with rats, mice, or rabbits. Anthocyanins are not readily absorbed from the intestine and the small quantity absorbed appears to be excreted by the kidney in its unchanged form.

Safety Reviews

JECFA (1982). Toxicological evaluation of certain food additives. WHO Food Add. Series No. 17. Twenty-sixth meeting of the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Available online

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS); Scientific Opinion on the reevaluation of anthocyanins (E 163) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2013;11(4):3145. [51 pp.] doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3145. Available online