WEBINAR: Caramel colour with a low content of 4- methylimidazole for the food industry

SECNA Group Webinar presentation
SECNA Group Webinar presentation


Caramel colour or also known as E150 is one of the most used colors in food. This food coloring is currently used in countless products and applications, which has allowed it to gradually become an alternative to the use of synthetic colors in many food applications. Caramel colour is used to make beers, carbonated beverages, pastry and biscuits, to make sauces, prepared dishes and to make distillates and different types of alcoholic beverages.

According to some estimates,  caramel color E150 represent worldwide 75 to 85% by weight of colors for food use, or what is the same, about 200,000 tons per year. However, due to the traditional process of making colorants E150c and E150d, small amounts of 4-methylimidazole are generated. 4-MeI is a heterocyclic organic chemical compound that appears during heating of carbohydrates in the presence of nitrogen compounds and it is usually present in roasted foods, such as grilled meats, in coffee and in some type c and d caramel colors, but it is important to highlight that it is generated naturally when cooking foods of all kinds. In any case due to doubts about its possible toxicity, multiple studies have been carried out in recent years, and since recently, the regulatory specifications (FDA and EFSA, among others) allow these caramel colors to contain up to 250 mg / kg of 4-MEI.

Regarding the case of the presence of 4MeI in caramel colour E150c and E150 d, the revision of maximum limits recommended by the Food Chemical Codex (FCC) has been particularly relevant after the implementation of the proposal List of chemical substances 65 from California (Prop. 65). Therefore, and while clarifying the situation, SECNA NATURAL INGREDIENTS GROUP has developed a whole range of caramel colours with levels of 4-MeI below levels suggested by these organizations.

The purpose of this webinar is to satisfy the expressed interest by many of our clients regarding 4-MeI and its impact on health, as well as the need for adequate alternatives to existing products in the market.

The presentations were made by researchers from R&D department of SECNA NATURAL INGREDIENTS GROUP, members of our laboratories in Italy and Spain.



I. Introduction to the event and presentation of the speakers – Presented by José García Reverter

II. Caramel colour and its apllications in the food industry – Presented by Emanuele Pedrazzini

III. 4-Mel in caramel colour, actual trends and new alternatives – Presentedy by Juan Mario Sanz

IV. Questions & Answers