|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Hello, Bianca. In short, food coloring left on your bread overnight will simply change the bread's natural color. Colors used today are for the most part considered G.R.A.S (generally regarded as safe), by the F.D. & C., (Food, Drug and Cosmetic) Act of the United States. This is especially true for colors used by children in the making of colored foods. Manufacturers must comply with very stringent regulations regarding the safety of food additives. Food coloring used by children must be shown to be exceptionally safe. The purpose of food coloring is simply to make a food's appearance appear more uniform and desirable. In terms of bread, the most commonly used coloring by producers is caramel, which is simply 'burnt sugar', or molasses, which are added to so-called "brown bread" to give them a brown appearance. This can be deceiving since the bread can be made of refined, white flour. These by the way are natural colorants and therefore do not need to be certified. Artificial colors on the other hand need to be certified, and some colors can be a health concern. The most common ones of concern are: Yellow No. 5, also known as tartrazine, which can cause allergic reactions in people, especially those sensitive to Aspirin. Another of concern is Yellow dye No. 6, also called Sunset Yellow, which has caused hives, allergic reactions, and gastric reactions. To add to this problem, some countries allow certain dyes on foods while others have banned them. Some food dyes have caused cancer in test animals, but in much, much greater amounts than humans would ever naturally eat. Also, food dyes have been absolved of causing hyperactivity in children. Any hyperactive reaction would most likely be caused by the food itself, rather than the dyes. So in short, most of the coloring agents you'll use on your bread are safe to use, and the significant change you would note the following day, will be an alteration in its natural color. Hope that helps, Peter Bosani. For more, log on to: www.cfsan.fda.gov/ Scroll down to Color Additives, and then scroll into - Color Additives and Foods, and finally, into - Food Color Facts.
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