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All You Need To Know About Dyes and Lakes




Posted on December 25th, 2016

Food colour is divided into two broad categories, artificial and natural. The former is also known as certified colour and each batch of this colour when manufactured is tested by the FDA (Food and Drug Organization). When this institute approve of the sample tested, the product obtains certification which declares it fit for consumption according to the predefined standards set by the government. Therefore, it is known as certified colour; however, there are some colours which can be used for drugs and cosmetics dyes but not for food products.

There are numerous groups which are interested in natural colours however; most food and confectionery products are now created using artificial colours. Listed below are the seven dyes commonly used for food products.

  • FD&C Red 3 – It offers a pink shade when dissolved in water.
  • FD&C Red 40 – It provides a red shade when dissolved in water.
  • FD&C Yellow 5 – This dye offers a yellow shade after being dissolved in water.
  • FD&C Yellow 6 – This dye on being dissolved in water offers orange shade.
  • FD&C Blue 1 – This dye offers sky blue shade on being dissolved.
  • FD&C Blue 2 – This dye creates dark blue shade on being dissolved in water.
  • FD&C Green 3 – With this dye one can get a bluish green shade on dissolving it in water and it is one of the most rarely used food colours. It is also the most expensive dye and is not exactly a green shade. It is much closer to aqua and can be created using Yellow 5 and Blue 1, without having to such a high price for the original dye. By adding the above mentioned colours in combinations one can create almost any shade of cosmetic lake colours.

All the FD&C colours are created by using dyes or aluminium lakes. Listed below are some prominent differences between Dyes and Lakes.

Dyes are distinct chemicals which on being dissolved in water display their colouring power. They are water soluble, do not mix with oils and can be purchased as power format granular form which is comparatively less dusty.

Aluminium lake colours are insoluble substances which offer tints on being dispersed. Lakes are created using dyes and can be dispersed in oil. However, they are not soluble in oil and therefore are often mixed with oils and fats. These substances can also be dissolved in other carriers including sugar solution and glycerine.

Application of Lakes

Colouring a fat based product – Chocolate and other compound coatings are some of the products used, and for creating the colour, lakes are dispersed in highly stable and premium quality vegetable oil. This dispersion is then added directly to the chocolate to dye it according to the colour one requires.

Resistance in bleeding – Dyes are soluble and therefore bleed, and move from part of the product to another. This is problematic in case of products with multiple colours and well defined boundaries. If bleeding is an issue lakes might be substituted instead of dyes.

Hard panning – This is the technique used for dyeing the outside layer of pills or gum balls. For this purpose a sugar and water dispersion is created.


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