E140 – Chlorophylls

 

What is E140 Chlorophyll ?

E140, or chlorophylls, are natural pigments predominantly found in plants and algae. These pigments are responsible for the green color of plant tissues and play a crucial role in photosynthesis, allowing plants to absorb energy from light.

E140 is approved for use in any type of food. It is a water-soluble colorant. The use of chlorophyll as a food coloring has gained significant attention due to its natural origin and potential health benefits. The primary sources of chlorophyll for industrial extraction of E140 include algae, spinach, parsley, nettle, and other green leafy vegetables.

What is the Recommended Daily Dose for E140 ?

In the European Union, EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has approved chlorophylls for use as food additives under the code E140. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recognizes chlorophylls as safe for use in foods. These regulatory approvals are based on comprehensive assessments of their safety and effectiveness as food colorants.

EFSA concluded that E140, chlorophylls, are natural dietary constituents present in relatively high concentrations in a number of foods. Moreover, the exposure resulting from the use of E140 as a food additive is lower than the exposure to chlorophylls from the regular diet and concluded that at the reported usage levels, E140 does not pose any safety concerns regarding its current use as a food additive. This additive is permitted in children’s foods within imposed limits.

Read also – A new sweetener has been approved by the European Union

 

What Products Contain the Food Additive E140 ?

E140 is commonly used in a variety of foods and beverages to enhance or restore the green color that may be lost during processing (such as in canned peas or mint candies). Here are some examples of products that may contain E140:

  • Candies and Chewing Gum: E140 can be used to give a green color to mint candies, jellies, and chewing gum.
  • Bakery Products: In baked goods such as cakes and bread to give them a green color.
  • Beverages: Such as juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks.
  • Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt
  • Savory Products: Like pickles, olives, and sauces.
  • Soaps
  • Dietary Supplements: Sometimes sold as a dietary supplement, although there is limited scientific evidence supporting its health benefits.

It is important to note that E140 is generally considered safe for consumption by regulatory bodies worldwide. However, as with any food additive, it is always best to consume products containing E140 in moderation.

If you are concerned about the presence of E140 in a particular food product, you can always check the ingredient label. By installing the InfoCons app and scanning the barcodes of food products, you can find out the number and type of food additives in the app.

Read also – E132 – INDIGOTIN (Indigo Carmine)

Contraindications and Risks

The natural origin of E140 attracts consumers who are increasingly wary of synthetic colorants, which are often associated with health risks. Beyond their coloring properties, chlorophylls are associated with several health benefits. Studies suggest that chlorophylls may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic properties. For example, multiple studies published on medical platforms have indicated that chlorophyllin can bind to potential carcinogens, reducing their bioavailability and mitigating their harmful effects.

Additionally, chlorophylls may support detoxification processes in the liver and improve wound healing when used topically.

Conclusion

Chlorophylls (E140) provide a natural and safe alternative to synthetic green colorants in the food industry. Their multiple benefits extend beyond simple coloring, encompassing health advantages that align with consumer preferences for natural and functional ingredients. As regulations and consumer preferences evolve, the field of food and pharmaceutical colorants will continue to change.

Author – Cosmina Nițu

Master in Nutrition – Infant and new born nutrition

Sources:

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

 

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