Chlorophylls & chlorophyllins, copper complexes


INS No. 141(i); Chlorophylls, copper complexes
INS No. 141(ii); Chlorophyllins, copper complexes, sodium and potassium salts
Sodium copper chlorophyllin
Potassium copper chlorophyllin
E 141(i); Copper Complexes of Chlorophylls
E 141(ii); Copper Complexes of Chlorophyllins

Physical Description

Sodium copper chlorophyllin is a green to black powder prepared from chlorophyll by saponification and replacement of magnesium by copper. Chlorophyll is solvent extracted from alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Chlorophylls, copper complexes are obtained by addition of an organic salt of copper to the substance obtained by solvent extraction of grass, lucerne, nettle and other plant material. The product contains other pigments such as carotenoids as well as fats and waxes derived from the source  material; the principal coloring matters are the copper phaeophytins.

For chlorophyllins, copper complexes sodium and potassium salts, the alkali salts of Copper chlorophyllins are obtained by the addition of copper to the product obtained by the saponification of a solvent extraction of grass, lucerne, nettle and other plant material. After addition of copper to the purified chlorophyllins, the acid groups are neutralized to form the salts of potassium and/or sodium and the commercial products may be presented as aqueous solutions or dried powders.

Common Uses

Typical applications include confectionery, desserts, beverages, dairy products, ice cream, fruit preparation, bakery products, soups, sauces, snack food, seasonings, and convenience foods.




Commission Regulation (EU) No 23/2012

Codex GSFA Provisions

Chlorophophylls and Chlorophyllins, copper complexes (INS Nos. 141(i-ii)) are added to foods and beverages at up to maximum permitted levels (MPLs) as adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. There are more than 50 food categories for which MPLs have been adopted in the General Standard of Food Additives (GSFA).

Regulatory Approvals

JECFA: ADI of 0-15 mg/kg bw established for both chlorophylls, copper complexes (13th Report, 1969) and chlorophyllins, copper complexes sodium and potassium salts (22nd Report, 1978)

USA: Sodium copper chlorophyllin is exempt from certification and may be safely used to color citrus-based dry beverage mixes in an amount not exceeding 0.2% by in the dry mix (21 CFR 73.125) Potassium sodium copper chlorophyllin may be safely used for coloring dentrifices that are drugs at a level not to exceed 0.1% (21 CFR 73.1125) and that are cosmetics  not in excess of 0.1% and only in combination with specifcally listed substances (21 CFR 73.2125)

EU: ADI withdrawn (2015); Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins (E 141) are authorized for use at Quantum satis in specific foods and beverages in Europe.

Safety Reviews

Toxicological Evaluation of Some Food Colours, Emulsifiers, Stabilizers, Anti-Caking Agents and Certain Other Substances (13th Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) FAO Nutrition Meetings Report Series No. 46A, 1969. Available online

Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants (22nd report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) WHO Technical Report Series, No. 631, 1978. Available online

Listing of Color Additives Exempt from Certification; Sodium Copper Chloropyllin, 67 FR 35429 (May 20, 2022). Available online

EFSA ANS Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food), 2015. Scientific Opinion on re-evaluation of copper complexes of chlorophylls (E 141(i)) and chlorophyllins (E 141(ii)) as food additives. EFSA Journal 2015;13(6):4151, 60 pp. Available online