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Additive regulations = reformulation challenge

01 April 2010

Imminent labelling regulations surrounding the ‘Southampton Six’ are leading processors to explore product reformulations using alternatives to some colours, says Campden BRI

From July this year, any food or drink products containing Southampton Six colours [tartrazine (E102), quinoline yellow (E104), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), ponceau 4R (E124) and allura red (E129)] are legally required to state ‘name or E number of the colour(s): may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’.
In addition to these labelling requirements, there has recently been a recommendation to lower the acceptable daily intake of three of the colours: E104, E110 and E124.

Reformulating products that have previously used synthetic colours can be a complex process. Challenges facing food processors include the fact that replacements are often inherently more unstable. This results in issues such as problems maintaining the desired colour of a product throughout its shelflife.

Campden BRI is investigating reformulation options with food and drink manufacturers who wish to explore replacing existing colours with natural alternatives. This research has also underpinned a free factsheet for food industry professionals, ‘Replacing the Southampton 6’.

“There is no doubt that the food and drink industry as a whole wants to replace these colours wherever possible,” says Sarah Chapman, NPD Technologist at Campden BRI. “However, switching synthetic colours for natural alternatives is not a straightforward process.
“There is a whole host of factors to consider, ranging from the intrinsic properties of the food to intended storage conditions and shelf-life. Our factsheet is a great starting point for anyone who wants to get an overview, and we would be happy to discuss the practical options with companies seeking alternatives.”

To obtain a free copy of the ‘Replacing the Southampton 6’ factsheet, e-mail with the subject line: send Southampton

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