What are artificial food colors?
Artificial food colors add or enhance the color of food and beverages and are commonly added to meet consumer expectations and increase product palatability. They may be used in various forms such as liquids, powders, and gels. Confectionery companies use a variety of artificial colors that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).

In the U.S., artificial colors include any substance added to food for color, regardless of the source of the color. Artificial food colors include colors that require certification by U.S. FDA and colors that are exempt from certification, but are also approved by U.S. FDA. Color additives that are approved but do not require certification include color additives derived from natural sources such as annatto extract, beta-carotene, grape skin extract, fruit and vegetable colors.

What is the difference between dyes and lakes?
Dyes and lakes are two different forms of color additives. Dyes are the pure, water-soluble form of color additives. They can be used in various forms such as liquids or powders. Lakes on the other hand, do not dissolve in water and are usually used in foods and beverages that contain fats and oils. They are often used to color coatings on candies.

Are artificial colors safe?
Confectionery companies consider the safety and quality of their products as the utmost priority. All ingredients used in candies must meet or exceed U.S. government standards established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).

How do I know what colors a product contains?
All added colors are listed on the ingredients statement label of the product. FD&C1 colors which require certification by U.S. FDA must be declared by name – e.g., “FD&C Blue 1” or “Blue 1”. Color additives which are exempt from certification can be declared specifically by name or may be declared simply as “Artificial Colors” or similar terms.2

Sources:
1FD&C (Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act)
2CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. CFR-Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.