Pearlescent Pigments


INS No. 176(i-iii)
Mica-Based Pearlescent Pigments
Potassium aluminium silicate-based pearlescent pigments coated with titanium dioxide (Type 1)
Potassium aluminium silicate-based pearlescent pigments coated with Iron oxide (Type II)
Potassium aluminium silicate-based pearlescent pigments coated with titanium dioxide and Iron oxide (Type III)

Physical Description

Potassium aluminum silicate-based pearlescent pigments are formed by depositing titanium and/or iron salts onto mica or potassium aluminium silicate, followed by calcination at high temperatures. The resulting pigment consists of potassium aluminium silicate or mica coated with titanium dioxide, iron oxide and, potentially, mixed oxides.

Specifications for Food Use



Regulatory Approvals

USA: Mica-based pearlescent pigments are exempt from certification may be safely used as a color additive in foods in amounts up to 1.25% by weight in cereals, confections and frostings, gelatin desserts, hard and soft candies (including lozenges), nutritional supplement tablets and gelatin capsules, and chewing gum; in amounts up to 0.07 % by weight in distilled spirits containing not less than 18 % and not more than 25% alcohol by volume, in cordials, liqueurs, flavored alcoholic malt beverages, wine coolers, cocktails, and in non-alcoholic cocktail mixes and mixers, such as margarita mix, Bloody Mary mix, and daiquiri mix, but excluding eggnog, tonic water, and beverages that are typically consumed without added alcohol; and in egg decorating kits used for coloring the shells of eggs in amounts consistent with GMP (21 CFR 73.350), to color ingested drugs in amounts up to 3% by weight of the final drug product, with the maximum amount of iron oxide used not to exceed 55% by weight in the finished pigment (21 CFR 73.1350).

JECFA: A PTWI of 2 mg/kg bw for total aluminum was established at the 74th JECFA (2011). The PTWI applies to all aluminum compounds in food, including food additives. ADIs of ‘not limited’ for titanium dioxide and 0-0.5 mg/kg bw for iron oxides were established at the 13th JECFA (1969) and 53rd JECFA (1999), respectively.

EU:  Considered a mixture of E171 with E555.