Coupled to increasing consumer demand, food manufacturers have moved towards increased usage of approved natural colours. There is a legal requirement for governments to monitor the consumption of all food additives in the European Union to ensure the acceptable daily intakes (ADIs) are not exceeded, especially by young children. Validated analytical methods are needed to fulfil this requirement. The aim of this paper is to review the available literature on methods of extraction for approved natural colours in food and drink. Available analytical methods for the determination of European Union-permitted natural food colour additives in foods and beverages have been assessed for their fitness for purpose in terms of their key extraction and analysis procedures, selectivity and sensitivity, especially with regard to maximum permitted levels, and their applicability for use in surveillance and in an enforcement role. The advantages and disadvantages of available analytical methods for each of nine designated chemical classes (groups) of natural colours in different food and beverage matrices are given. Other important factors such as technical requirements, cost, transferability and applicability are given due consideration. Gaps in the knowledge and levels of validation are identified and recommendations made on further research to develop suitable methods. The nine designated natural colour classes covered are: 1. Curcumin (E100), 2. Riboflavins (E101i–ii), 3. Cochineal (E120), 4. Chlorophylls-including chlorophyllins and copper analogues (E140–141), 5. Caramel Classes I–IV (E150a–d), 6. Carotenoids (E160a–f, E161b, E161g), 7. Beetroot red (E162), 8. Anthocyanins (E163), and 9. Other colours – Vegetable carbon (E153), Calcium carbonate (E170), Titanium dioxide (E171) and Iron oxides and hydroxides (E172).

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