Wild expands colour range for new EU rules

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Ingredients firm Wild has expanded its natural food colourings range to help food manufacturers avoid certain artificial colours that now require warning labels.

The German company is highlighting seven ingredients under its Colours From Nature range, some of which are new while others have been reformulated or updated to replace what have come to be known as the ‘Southampton colours’.

These were identified in a study conducted at Southampton University and published in The Lancet ​in 2007, and were linked to hyperactivity in children. As of this month, products containing any of the so-called Southampton Six food colours will have to carry a warning on packaging under European law.

The wording – “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children” – has been called a de facto ban since it would have a strong effect on sales, and has resulted in a strong movement away from using the colours.

“It’s one of the main topics in the industry at the moment – how to avoid this claim and what is the best option for reformulation. We introduced this range to customers several months ago to help them prepare for the new regulations as not many manufacturers are willing to have this warning label on their products,”​ said a Wild spokesperson.

Natural extracts and concentrates

The seven colouring foodstuffs added to Wild’s Colours From Nature range are natural extracts and concentrates from plants, fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, nettle, curcumin root and elderberry.

“Each of the ingredients corresponds to the type of fruit for which it is named. New to the Wild colour portfolio are banana, mango, mandarin, redcurrant, elderberry and lime and allow for clean labelling without E-numbers,”​ said the firm.

The colours are particularly suited for use in confectionery products “because this is the big market for colouring foodstuffs, and the market targeted by this claim”, ​Wild told FoodNavigator.com. Applications include hard candies, dragees, jelly gums and ice cream.

The firm also offers other colours from natural sources, which can be used in other applications, such as beverages. However, these need to be identified by E-numbers. They include products such as beta-carotene, various carotenoids, anthocyanins, carmine, and betanin.

Southampton Six

The six colours identified by the Southampton study are: sunset yellow E110, tartrazine E102, carmoisine E122, ponceau 4R E124, quinoline yellow E104 and allura red E129.

In November 2009, the European Food Safety Authority lowered the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for three of the Southampton Six food colours, but not for reasons associated with hyperactivity.

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