Why Colors are Safe

Colors improve our experiences every day. Whether it’s the meals we enjoy with our families, the beverages we sip, or the occasional sweet we treat ourselves to, colors enhance nearly every dining experience.

Here are some reasons why colors are safe:

  • Colors have been used throughout recorded history and are an integral part of various cultures. Therefore, color additives are commonly used in a wide variety of foods and beverages. They are among the most widely studied food ingredients and are subject to strict global regulatory requirements.
  • In the United States, all color additives must be approved by the FDA prior to placement into the market and are subject to extensive safety assessment as described in the FDA Redbook. The Redbook provides guidance on the toxicological principles for the safety assessment of food ingredients.
  • Similar processes exist for color additive approval in Canada and the EU. Codex Alimentarius’ JECFA review is required for inclusion in the General Standard for Food Additives, which is increasingly used as the primary source for additive regulations globally.
  • All color additives allowed for use in the US and the EU have been extensively studied, which translates into the ability to always assure that colors, enjoyed under their intended use, are safe for the consumer
  • There are a multitude of published studies focused on color additive safety that are accessible to the public for review.
  • The source of a color additive, whether it originates from plant, mineral, animal, or synthetic source, has no bearing on its safety.
  • The global producers of colors remain vigilant about the safety and compliance of our products through additional testing at the request of government officials and close monitoring of new scientific developments.
  • Since our founding in 1972, we at IACM have stood as a strong voice in support for the safe use of color additives. We are respected by regulatory bodies worldwide for our unparalleled knowledge and access to leading scientific researchers and color industry experts. This tradition continues today, as both the association and its member companies maintain our strong commitment to safety regarding the safe use of color additives.
  • Ensuring the safety of color ingredients used in the products consumers enjoy and maintaining the public’s confidence in that safety is the color industry’s primary goal

IACM, which represents both color manufacturers and consumer product companies that use color, understands that the safety of the food supply is of paramount importance to all consumers.  Color additives have been extensively studied in a wide variety of toxicology studies including toxicity and carcinogenicity studies, reproduction studies, studies of metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and genetic toxicology assays.  The relatively small number of color additives used globally permits more attention to be given to the safety assessment of individual materials.