E155 Brown HT

What is the food additive E155 ?

E155, also known as Brown HT, is an additive from the category of synthetic azo dyes. E155 is derived from coal tar and is commonly used to give foods and beverages a rich, brown hue.

It is used as a colorant substitute for cocoa or caramel and has the molecular formula C27H18N4Na2O9S2.

Read also – E153 – Vegetable carbon

What is the recommended daily dose ?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved the food additive E155 for use in the European Union, with specific limits on its levels of use. These limits have been set for both adults and children aged 1-10 years, at 1.5 mg/kg body weight/day.

However, there have been concerns about its potential allergenicity, especially for people sensitive to certain synthetic colorants.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has not approved E155 for use in foods due to concerns about possible health risks, including allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children.

There are ongoing debates about the long-term effects of consuming synthetic food colorants like E155. Labeling requirements also mandate that products containing this colorant must indicate its presence to inform consumers.

In what products is the food additive E155 found ?

  • E155 is used in cakes, pastries, and other baked goods to give a uniform brown color.
  • It is often found in candies and chocolate.
  • E155 is used in soft drinks and certain alcoholic beverages.
  • It can be added to flavored milk and ice cream.
  • It is also used to color sauces and condiments.

Read also – How Often Should We Consume Fruits and Vegetables?

Contraindications and risks

Although it is generally recognized as safe for use in foods, there are concerns about its potential impact on health.

  • Allergic reactions: E155 (Brown HT) can cause allergic reactions in people with asthma, those sensitive to aspirin, and other sensitive individuals, and may cause skin sensitivity.
  • Hyperactivity in children: It is one of the food colorants that, when combined with other food additives, such as certain preservatives, can cause hyperactivity in children. However, more research is needed to confirm this link.

Read also – E140 – Chlorophylls

Limiting the quantity of E155 in the diet

E155, Brown HT, is a commonly used additive in the food industry to enhance the visual appeal of various products. Although it is approved for use in many countries, including the European Union, it is not without controversy.

Regulatory bodies continue to monitor its safety, with some countries, like the United States, choosing not to approve it due to potential health concerns. Consumers should stay informed about the additives in the foods they consume and make informed choices.

Look for products with cleaner labels or those using natural additives. 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.

Author – Cosmina Nițu

Master in Nutrition – Infant and new born nutrition


https://www.efsa.europa.eu- European Food Safety Authority

https://www.atamanchemicals.com – Ataman Chemicals

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