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food colouring

any of numerous dyes, pigments, or other additives used to enhance the appearance of fresh and processed foods. Colouring ingredients include natural colours, derived primarily from vegetable sources and sometimes called vegetable dyes; inorganic pigments; combinations of organic and metallic compounds (called lakes); and synthetic coal-tar substances. They are added to orange and potato skins, sausage casings, baked goods, candies, carbonated drinks, gelatin desserts, powdered drink mixes, and many other foods. Many of these additives are also employed as colouring agents in cosmetics, drugs, and products such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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