German database on the occurrence of food additives: application for intake estimation of five food colours for toddlers and children

Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2014;31(2):197-206. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2013.865146. Epub 2014 Jan 20.


To get a more realistic estimation of food additive intake for toddlers and children, a German database on the occurrence of food additives was created. It uses consumption data of two recent national nutrition surveys for toddlers and children in combination with qualitative information of food additive occurrence in the consumed food. The information on food additive occurrence is based on food labelling. A categorisation system was developed according to regulations to classify the foods consumed and to identify possible food additive use in the food groups. Two natural (E120, E160b) and three artificial food colours (E110, E124, E129) were chosen for an assessment of food additive intake. The percentage of food items containing one of the chosen food colours was calculated for every food group and the food groups with most items containing the additive were identified. Intake estimations were performed based on maximum permitted-use levels (MPLs). Firstly, additive use was assumed in all foods consumed (tier 2); and secondly, food additive use was assumed only for those items where labelling confirmed the use and for all foods with no labelling available (tier 2b). Intake estimations were then compared with the ADI. Most food items with at least one of the food colours were found in the food groups confectionary, desserts, fermented milk products, flavoured drinks and breakfast cereals. The tier 2b approach provided more realistic estimations, which were always below those of the tier 2 approach and below the ADI for mean exposure. Exposure for high-level consumers exceeded the ADI for two of the food additives in tier 2b. Keeping in mind that the database is only mirroring the current situation, it provides a good possibility to refine the estimation of food additive intake for toddlers and children in Germany.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Diet
  • Eating
  • Food Coloring Agents / chemistry*
  • Germany
  • Humans


  • Food Coloring Agents