INS No. 161g
Canthaxanthin occurs as a dark, crystalline powder. It is consists predominantly of trans-ß-carotene-4,4′-dione together with minor amounts of other isomers.
Canthaxanthin is a reddish-orange color primarily used to color the meat of poultry, salmon, and trout and the yolks of eggs indirectly through animal feeds. Canthaxanthin can also be used directly for coloring food such as tomato products, fruit drinks, sausage products and baked goods as well as pharmaceuticals.
Canthaxanthin (INS No. 161g) is added to foods and beverages at concentrations up to a maximum permitted level (MPL) as adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. There are more than 30 food categories for which MPLs for canthaxanthin are adopted in the General Standard of Food Additives (GSFA).
JECFA (1995). Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. WHO Technical Report Series. No. 859. Forty-forth meeting of the Joint FAO/WHO 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 canthaxanthin (E 161 g) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(10):1852 [42 pp.]. Available online