Jan 08

30th December 2019 

Americolors: Can I use them in the UK?


I receive lots of emails each month asking us about Americolors and whether people can use them so I thought it would be useful to put up a blog article all about these colour pastes.

I have to admit I LOVE them. Along with Sugarflair colours, they are my most favourite colours. They are super bright, vibrant and “fun”. The gel pastes colours are also easy to use and some of the colour tones cannot be found in other ranges so there are a couple of really unique colours.

Are Americolors Illegal in the UK?

Americolors are not banned products in the UK/EC. However, some Americolors contain Red 3 which is known in the UK as E127 or Erythrosine. This is an additive which is associated with hyperactivity in children so its usage in foods is monitored. The use of Red 3/E127 is restricted in the UK/EC because of this association. In some countries it is banned - for example, I believe it is banned in Norway. This doesn't stop you using it but it does stop you using it in edible items if that is your country's rule.

If using Americolors in cakes which you sell to the public and the colouring you want to use has Red 3/E127, you usually cannot use it. This is because being “restricted” means that you can only use that colour in certain non-restricted foods (for example, it is allowed in glace cherries but not sponge cake).

Huh? So can I put the colour in one thing and not others?

Yes that is correct.

Our understanding is that, for example, a fruit cake with glace cherries containing Red 3/E127 food colouring is fine if the Red 3 is just in the glace cherries. You can use the Americolor because glace cherries are on the "permitted food" list. However the same fruit cake is not fine if you cover it with icing and you use the same Red3/E127 food colouring in the icing. Icing is not on the list of "permitted food" in which you can use E127/Red 3

Ok, so I have to be more careful when using colours with Red 3?

Yes that is correct. If in doubt, do not use a colour with Red 3 in it when making cakes for members of the public. If you are making them for yourself, I guess it is your body - your decision!

How do I know which colourings have Red 3?

It is not as many as you think but it is not just red! To make it a bit easier for you, we have listed those below in a category list based on information given to us by Americolor. 

Americolor Gel Pastes that DO NOT have Red 3 in them:

  • Sky Blue
  • Egg Yellow
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Ivory
  • Forest Green
  • Teal
  • Leaf Green
  • Mint Green
  • Orange
  • Tulip Red
  • Bright White
  • Turquoise
  • Avocado
  • Warm Brown
  • Gold
  • Electric Blue
  • Electric Yellow
  • Electric Green
  • Electric Orange

Americolor Gel Pastes that DO have Red 3 in them:

  • Deep Pink
  • Mauve
  • Peach
  • Burgundy
  • Red Red
  • Super Red
  • Xmas Red
  • Violet
  • Holiday Red
  • Terracotta
  • Fuchsia
  • Regal Purple
  • Soft Pink
  • Maroon
  • Navy
  • Electric Pink
  • Electric Purple

Does this only effect Americolors?

No – if you look at the ingredients on many colours, they often state “This product may cause hyperactivity in children”. If you see an additive such described as E127 then this is, to the best of our knowledge, the same thing.

My personal view is that Americolors have been singled out a little bit in the cake world because many other items also have additives but, we are perhaps unaware of this.

The Bottom Line - if you are worried about additives, hyperactivity and so on, READ THE LABEL regardless of the product!

Our Final Words:

I use Americolors, but within the rules. If I am making a cake for a member of the public and that customer wants a purple cake, then I TELL the customer that the colour options are X, Y and Z. If Z is Americolor, I explain the restrictions. Most customers then use another colour that is similar.

If I get a customer who wants the Americolor and only the Americolor then the only way I would proceed was if we have a written agreement confirming I have explained the restrictions and they were proceeding at THEIR risk. But I would tend to try and avoid this situation by not offering the colour for a customers order.

The above post is based on my understanding and is not advice - just what we have been told when asking Trading Standards and Americolor. Hope you find it helpful 🙂

If you loved this:

You may want to check out this free tutorial all about Glittergate and the right glitters and dusts to use for your cakes. Have a look at this free tutorial from Pretty Witty Cakes here.

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What To Do Next:

Maybe next time you embark on a cake venture, check out the the Pretty Witty Academy site! We have nearly 1000 cake tutorials showing you everything from how to cover a cake with sugar paste and fixing damaged cakes to fully advanced gravity defying cakes.

We also have a huge business section for those wanting to run a cake business. From website building to pricing, we've got you covered.

Why not check out some of these amazing novelty cakes now! See more at Pretty Witty Academy.