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FD&C, natural colors mix well in dry system.

A new color system offers an alternative to FD&C lakes. It also offers many natural colors in a dry form, which have not been available in the past. The system is designed for coloring dry blends, high fat systems, and tableted confections.

The color are produced by coloring a solution of a natural, dairy-derived base and drying the material by a proprietary process that results in a low-density colored particle. The dairy-derived base is compatible with many food formulations, and the colors are composed of over 90% carbohydrate.

The proprietary system includes the FD&C colors Red #40, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6. Natural colors are annatto, cochineal, grape skin extract, turmeric, and paprika. Carotenoids, including B-carotene, carotenal, and canthaxanthin, are also available. Work is underway to add colors to the line, including beet red and spiralima green.

FD&C lakes are made by absorbing soluble FD&C colors from a solution onto a substrate, usually aluminum hydroxide. They are insoluble pigments and color by dispersion. Many natural colors come in the form of oil-soluble liquids derived from plants. An exception is coch-ineal, a red colorant extracted from the cochineal beetle. Its dry powdered form is carmine color, which is the carminic acid colorant of cochineal precipitated onto a substrate of aluminum salts. Carmine is a lake type of color. B-carotene, carotenal, and canthaxanthin are commercially synthesized forms of carotenoids, which are compounds formed in many plants and some animals.

One big advantage the new color system has over lakes and FD&C colors is that it can improve the appearance of a dry mix without having to dissolve and spray-dry, or instantize the entire formulation in order to color it uniformly. The fine powders disperse uniformly throughout a dry mix, giving it a consistent tone throughout. The same advantage holds for tabletted candies. The colors can be mixed with the other candy ingredients and pressed into tablets. The ingredients do not have to be dissolved and spray-dried with the color in order to produce a uniformly colored candy piece.

In addition to such applications as dry beverage mixes, the colors are playing a role in powdered snack and seasoning mixes. For example, color can be blended with a cheese poweder to be dusted onto popcorn or cheese puffs. Because the colors are slightly hygroscopic, they adhere well to the snacks.

The colors suspend readily and consistently in high-fat systems. Compound coatings for candy or snacks can attain many hues with the system. Fat-based cake frostings are another application.

Color migration problems can be alleviated using the system. For example, colors from decorative sprinkles ofen migrate into frozen vanilla yogurt. When the sprinkles were colored using this color system, the colors did not leach into the frozen yogurt.

Like paints, the colors can be mixed together to achieve many hues. Usage levels vary from 3-10%, depending upon the particle size of the formulation and the color intensity desired. The lower levels may be sufficient for the FD&C colors. Natural colors may have to be used at the upper levels.

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Author:LaBell, Fran
Publication:Food Processing
Date:Mar 1, 1992
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