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E 160b | Food colouring
Possible application of gene technology Labelling
Able to be manufactured with the aid of GM microorganisms no



Yellow food colouring; extract of the annatto shrub (Bixa orellana), which grows in Peru and Brazil. Annatto is classified among the carotenoids; main colouring agent is bixin.


Annatto is approved as food colouring for a variety of foodstuffs. Examples are: 

Gene technology

Annatto is extracted from the annatto shrub. It also may be won chemically from lycopene, a carotinoid food colouring that may be obtained from tomatoes or rosehips.

  • It is now possible to produce annatto with the aid of genetically modified organisms. Exact information on the commercial applications of this process are not available.

Labelling: Additives that are produced with the aid of genetically modified organisms in closed systems do not require labelling, provided that the additive in questions has been purified and contains no microorganisms.

The additive remains without labelling even in the case of microorganisms’ having received growth culture made of genetically modified plants


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