Nutritional supplements are substances that are added to food to preserve or improve taste, as well as to give the desired product a more interesting and attractive appearance.
Green S or E142 - an additive that relates to synthetic food colors, gives dyed products a red-green or blue-green hue and is today actively popular in the food industry in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, at the same time as in Japan , Canada, the USA, Finland, Sweden and Norway, this substance is prohibited for use as a dietary supplement, as it may be harmful to human health.
Synthetic food colors are organic compounds. They are not found in the environment, therefore they have a name - artificial. Many of them have been used in the food industry for many decades.
Compared with natural food colors, synthetic ones, in turn, do not have flavoring substances and vitamins, but are much less susceptible to saving conditions and technological processes, and also give us quite noticeable saturated colors, which gives them significant technological advantages.
E142 - bright green artificial food color from the triphenylmethane family. Triphenylmethane substances are artificial organic compounds. All of them are based on the triphenylmethane compound, which has the chemical formula (C6H5) 3CH. In simpler words, green S is an artificial substance - sodium salts, which in turn are extracted from black coal tar. Its chemical formula looks like this: C27H25N2O7S2Na.
This additive has the form of a dark blue or dark green powder, sometimes granules of a saturated green color, or presented as a green-blue, almost black aqueous solution.
The substance can withstand temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius, in other words it is quite heat-resistant, soluble in water, slightly in ethanol, but has a complete lack of dissolution in oily vegetable solutions, has moderate resistance to alkalis and light, and is also very resistant to fruit acids. To maintain environmental stability, E142 requires a neutral pH environment.
Use of food coloring
In addition to food production, Green S or E142 is actively used in medicine, pharmacology, cosmetology, and even in the textile industry.
So, it is added to:
- the drinks;
- peppermint jelly and sauce;
- canned peas and canned fruits;
- popsicles and fruit ice;
- desserts and confectionery (for candy fillings);
- breakfast cereals and bagged soups;
- semi-finished products from crayfish;
- mustard, dry mixes and various seasonings;
- cheese and sausages.
In medicine, in particular in ophthalmology, this substance is used for diagnostic purposes for diseases of the surface of the eye, for example, such as dry eye syndrome.
In cosmetology and pharmacology, E142 is used for staining drugs, dietary mixtures, dietary supplements and few cosmetic products.
Some textile manufacturers have begun to use this additive for dyeing silk and wool fabrics.
In the countries of the European Union, the maximum level of use of 10-500 mg / kg of food for various foods is allowed, in drinks it is permissible at a level of up to 200 mg / l.
Research: harm or benefit?
At the request of the European Commission for Food Safety, in 1984 a scientific study was conducted by a group of scientists evaluating the safety of Green S when used as a food coloring. Studies were conducted on rodents.
When consumed at a dose of 1,500 mg of Green S / kg body weight per day, mild anemia, an increased level of blood protein and urea, an increase in the lymph nodes of the intestinal wall, and changes in the thyroid gland were observed in rats. And with long-term use of 500 mg / kg of body weight per day, including intrauterine irradiation, in the analysis of the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, stomach in mice, convincingly associated with the use of this food supplement, no pathologies were found.
Only a few neoplastic processes were described, but a team of researchers concluded that these non-tumor lesions are normal background changes not related to treatment, as they were equally detected in rats that received E142 and those who did not use this supplement .
The authors concluded that Green S is not carcinogenic to mice and that the acceptable favorable dosage is 530 mg / kg body weight per day in males and 660 mg / kg body weight per day in females.
In rats, none of the studies performed is considered adequate by modern standards. Three lengthy studies were conducted with rats that were injected subcutaneously with E142 once or twice a week for about one year.
In one study, two males and one female developed a malignant tumor - sarcoma, while the other two studies were completely favorable. A group of scientists came to the conclusion that the observed local tumors were most likely associated with the physicochemical properties of the introduced material, rather than the carcinogenic potential of this food supplement. In the course of studies on the absorption, metabolism and excretion of E142, we can conclude that this dye is poorly absorbed in the intestine and is mainly excreted unchanged in feces.
Since this food coloring is synthetic, it is not endowed with special beneficial qualities. It can cause allergic reactions, both when used internally and with external contact with the skin of a person. Therefore, it is recommended to exclude from the diet of children. Research is ongoing, but it is also known that these substances can cause significant hyperactivity, bronchial asthma, and insomnia.
It can be concluded that Green S or E142 is an artificial dye, but with rare and insignificant use, the additive is practically harmless and does not pose a particular danger to human health.