Assessment of dietary exposure to annatto (E160b), nitrites (E249-250), sulphites (E220-228) and tartaric acid (E334) in the French population: the second French total diet study

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2012;29(6):875-85. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2012.658525. Epub 2012 Mar 1.


The results of the assessment of the dietary exposure to annatto, nitrites, tartaric acid and sulphites within the framework of the second French total diet study (TDS) are reported. These 4 additives were selected from the Bemrah et al. study [Bemrah N, Leblanc JC, Volatier JL. 2008. Assessment of dietary exposure in the French population to 13 selected food colours, preservatives, antioxidants, stabilizers, emulsifiers and sweeteners. Food Addit Contam B. 1(1):2-14] on 13 food additives which identified a possible health risk for annatto, sulphites and nitrites and a lack of data for tartaric acid. Among the composite samples selected for the whole TDS, 524 were analysed for additives (a sample was analysed for a given additive when it was identified as a major contributor for this additive only): 130 for tartaric acid, 135 for nitrites, 59 for annatto and 200 for sulphites. Estimated concentrations (minimum lower bound to maximum upper bound) vary nationally from 0 to 9 mg/kg for annatto, 0 to 420 mg/kg for tartaric acid, 0 to 108 mg/kg for sulphites and 0 to 3.4 mg/kg for nitrites. Based on the analytical results, the dietary exposure was calculated for adults and children, separately, using lower bound and upper bound assumptions. The European ADIs for these 4 additives were not exceeded except for the dietary exposure for sulphites among 2.9% of the adult population, where the major contributors were alcoholic drinks and especially wine under both hypotheses (lower and upper bound).

MeSH terms

  • Bixaceae
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage*
  • Carotenoids / analysis
  • Diet*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Food Additives / administration & dosage*
  • Food Additives / analysis
  • France
  • Limit of Detection
  • Nitrites / administration & dosage*
  • Nitrites / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Sulfites / administration & dosage*
  • Sulfites / analysis
  • Tartrates / administration & dosage*
  • Tartrates / analysis


  • Food Additives
  • Nitrites
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfites
  • Tartrates
  • Carotenoids
  • annatto
  • tartaric acid