Caramels

 

Identifiers

INS No. 150a
E 150a
Class I
Plain Caramel
Caustic Caramel

INS No. 150b
E 150b
Class II
Caustic Sulfite Caramel
Sulfite Caramel

INS No. 150c
E 150c
Class III
Ammonia Caramel

INS No. 150d
E 150d
Class IV
Sulfite Ammonia Caramel

CAS No. 8028-89-5

Physical Description

Caramel is made by the controlled heating of food-grade carbohydrates and is one of the most common natural colorings. There are four different types of Caramel distinguished by how they are produced: Plain Caramel, Sulphite Caramel, Ammonia Caramel or Sulphite Ammonia Caramel.

Common Uses

Caramel color is mostly used in soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. It is also added to confectionery, bakery products, dairy products, desserts, meat, seafood, vinegars, sauces, gravies, soups, snack food, fruit preparations, and convenient food.

Specifications

US FDA
JECFA
EU Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012

Codex Provisions

Caramel I – plain caramel is a food additive that is included in Table 3, and as such may be used in certain foods under the conditions of good manufacturing practices (GMP) as outlined in the Preamble of the Codex GSFA. Caramel II – sulfite caramel is permitted for use in flavored fluid milk drinks at a maximum level of 2,000 mg/kg and there are many more draft provisions pending adoption. Caramel III – ammonia caramel and Caramel IV – sulfite ammonia caramel are also authorized for use in many food categories in the GSFA.

Regulatory Approvals

USA: Caramel is a color additive exempt from certification and permanently listed for food use at GMP (21 CFR 73.85), for drug use in drugs generally at GMP (21 CFR 73.1085), and for cosmetic use in cosmetics generally, including those for eye area, at GMP (21 CFR 73.2085)

EU: EU: Group ADI of 300 mg/kg bw/day as well as an individual ADI of 100 mg/kg bw/day for Class III Caramel (EFSA, 2011)

JECFA: JECFA: An ADI for Class I ‘Not specified’ was established at the 29th JECFA (1985), for Class II of 0 -160 mg/kg bw was established at the 55th JECFA (2000) and an ADI for Class III of 0-200 mg/kg bw (0-150 mg/kg bw on solids basis) was established at the 29th JECFA (1985) and an ADI for Class IV of 0-200 mg/kg bw (0-150 mg/kg bw on solids basis) was established at the 29th JECFA (1985).

Safety Assessment

A comprehensive review of caramel color safety was recently published in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Safety Reviews

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS); Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of caramel colours (E 150a,b,c,d) as food additives. EFSA Journal 2011;9(3):2004 [103 pp.]. Available online

JECFA (2001) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. 55th report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series 901. Available online

JECFA (1986) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. 29th report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. WHO Technical Report Series 733. Available online