Vegetable Carbon


INS No. 153
Vegetable Black
E 153

Physical Description

Vegetable carbon is produced by the carbonization of vegetable materials such as wood, cellulose residues, peat and coconut and other shells. The raw material is carbonized at high temperatures and consists essentially of finely divided carbon.

Common Uses

Typical applications include confectionery, bakery products, decorations, cheese coating, black caviar substitute, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.



Commission Regulation (EU) No 23/2012

Regulatory Approvals

JECFA: No ADI allocated (31st Meeting, 1987)

EU: EU: No ADI allocated (EFSA, 2012). Specific food categories where vegetable carbon is authorized for use at quantum satis have been defined in Directive 94/36/EC on colors for use in foodstuffs.

Safety Reviews

Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants (Thirty -first report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) WHO Technical Report Series No. 759, 1987. Available online

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS); Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of vegetable carbon (E 153) as a food additive. EFSA Journal 2012;10(4):2592. [34 pp.] Available online