Food dyes and children’s behavior

Dyes and Aluminum Lakes in Powder Form

The base for all artificial food colors are DYES and ALUMINUM LAKES. These are produced in a light, dusty powdery format. The differences between Dyes and Lakes are as follows:

* A DYE is a distinct chemical that exhibits coloring power when it is dissolved. Dyes are water soluble, and will not mix with oils. Dyes can be purchased in a Powder format or a less dusty version called “Granular”.

* An ALUMINUM LAKE PIGMENT is an insoluble material that tints by dispersion. Lakes are produced from the FD&C Dyes and are oil dispersible (but generally not oil soluble) and thus can be mixed with oils and fats. They can also be dispersed or suspended in other carriers such as propylene glycol, glycerin and sucrose (water and sugar).

* Lakes are produced in specific concentrations of dye. Thus, Red 40 Aluminum Lake is available in Low Dye (generally 15-17% pure dye) and High Dye (36-42% pure dye).

Lakes are preferred in a variety of applications, such as:

1) To color a fat based product, such as chocolate or compound coatings. For these, we produce a concentrated dispersion in a high quality and very stable vegetable oil. The dispersion is added directly to the chocolate to dye it accordingly.

2) For “hard panning” (to dye the outside of a product such as a gum ball, an M&M™ type product, or a pill). In this case, we produce a dispersion usually using sucrose (sugar and water) that is applied to the candy or food as it is being tumbled and dried. Multiple layers are applied to produce the desired shade.

3) Lakes tend to resist bleeding. Dyes have a tendency to “bleed”, or migrate from one part of the product to another. This can be a problem in candy canes or any product where there are defined borders such as stripes. While Dyes are normally used in hard candy, Lakes are sometimes substituted if bleeding is a problem….

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