INS No. 150a
INS No. 150b
Caustic Sulfite Caramel
INS No. 150c
INS No. 150d
Sulfite Ammonia Caramel
CAS No. 8028-89-5
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.
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.
Caramel I – plain caramel (INS No. 150a) is a food additive that is included in Table 3, and as such may be used in specific foods under the conditions of good manufacturing practices (GMP) as outlined in the Preamble of the Codex GSFA, as well as in foods conforming to Commodity Standards for Bouillons and Consommés (CS 117-1981), Instant Noodles (CS 249-2006) and Certain Canned Fruits (CS 319-2015).
Caramel II – sulfite caramel (INS No. 150b) is currently permitted for use in 5 food categories, including chewing gum, confectionery, decorations, toppings (non-fruit) and sweet sauces, flavored fluid milk drinks, pre-cooked pastas and noodles and like products, and there are many more draft provisions pending adoption.
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
Vollmuth TA. Caramel color safety – An update. Food Chem Toxicology. 2018 Jan; Vol 111: pp 578-596. Available online