Caramel in soft drinks

Caramels are basically burnt sugar with a pleasant, slightly bitter taste. Caramel coloring is the most widely used food coloring and is found in almost every kind of industrially produced food.

There are several different types of caramels:
*Caramel color (Class I E150a), plain or spirit caramel
*Caramel color (Class II E150b), caustic sulphite caramel
*Caramel color (Class III E150c), ammonia caramel
*Caramel color (Class IV E150d) sulphite ammonia caramel

Caramel color (Class IV E150d) sulphite ammonia caramel is a group of caramels is obtained by the controlled heating of carbohydrates in the presence of both sulphites and ammonium compounds.

EU Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has established for E150d an acceptable daily intake ranging from 160 to 200 mg/kg body weight per day.

They are also known as ‘acid proof’ or ‘soft drink’ caramels and are dispersible in water and capable of withstanding high acid conditions.

With strong negative charge they are used almost exclusively in soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages. In colas, Class IV caramel is the predominant ingredient, a typical concentration being 1400 ppm.

Caramel contains compounds with reducing activity, such as 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furfural (HMF) and many other compounds arising from the reaction of sugars and amino compounds present in the initial mixture, like the browning derivatives from the early stages of the Mallard reaction, which give the typical color to caramel.
Caramel in soft drinks


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