Annatto is one of the most popular natural colorings in the world, which is derived from the achiote tree seeds, which are plant pigments found in the lining of seeds. The fruits of this shrub are covered with opaque soft bristles or with a soft surface. They are round and are about 4 cm wide, and they can be found in several colors such as yellow, brownish-green and bright red.
While Annatto refers to the raw extract, Bixin is the fat-soluble coloring part, and Norbixin is the water-soluble part. All of them have coloring capacity, which since being extracted from plants acquires the name of natural coloring.
Bixin is used to provide color to oil-based products, such as cheese, processed cheese, snacks, oils, fats, butter and margarine, for example. On the other hand, E-160b is the code given to bixin used as a coloring additive in the food industry. This code is based on the European Union’s food codes, which correspond to isolated natural colorings. Therefore, they are basically the same with the difference that the E-160b code is used exclusively in the food industry.
E-160b has a yellow-red tone leaning towards a brown shade similar to a peach. It can be used in a wide variety of foods such as cheese (especially in Cheddar and Mimolette), sausages, rice, breakfast cereals, butters and margarines, patisserie (wafers) as well as snacks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the null toxicity of Bixin for both human consumption and skin application. In fact, this is a very suitable substance for coloring all kinds of foods and drinks that have a yellow color.
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