【A closer look at food colouring】Artificial food colourings are often used in prepackaged food products to enhance their colour and visuals. Long-term consumption of artificial food colouring may be harmful to our health. Are you aware when purchasing food products?
The artificial food colouring agents are synthesized from chemical substances, mainly from raw materials such as coal tar and petroleum. Because of its low production cost, and more stable and brighter than natural pigments, it is often used in the commercial food industry. Yet, certain artificial food colourings that are approved may cause insufficient attention to children. Individuals who are susceptible to sensitivity may also be stimulated by the chemical components in artificial pigments, which may cause allergic reactions and affect their health.
The natural pigments are mainly extracted from plants, which are less burdensome to the human body. The “E number” that are often seen on food packaging represents the number of food additives approved by the European Union, including coloring, sweeteners and preservatives. However, not all pigments with an E number are not edible. Taking natural coloring materials permitted in Hong Kong as an example (pictured on the right), they are relatively harmless to the human body.
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