Skip to main content

Revised exposure assessment for lycopene as a food colour



Following a request from the Commission, a revised exposure assessment of lycopene from use as a food colour and from natural occurrence, for children and adults, was carried out using the proposed revised maximum and typical use levels according to a range of scenarios defined in the terms of reference, and with reference to the exposure assessment presented in the former opinion on lycopene by the EFSA’s Panel on Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC). Several food consumption databases were used to conduct the current exposure assessment. For children, data of the EXPOCHI project, UK data and additional French data were used. Estimates for adults were based on UK data only. Overall, the revised exposure assessment of lycopene from both the use as a food colour and the natural occurrence indicated that the potential average exposures for children were approximately of 200 μg/kg bw/day, and around or slightly below the ADI at the 95th percentile. In adults, the high exposure (95th percentile) to lycopene from use as a food colour and from natural origin was below the ADI. When exposure to lycopene from fortified foods was also included, the conservative estimates of the exposure were much higher in all populations studied. EFSA concluded that in this case, potential intakes might exceed the ADI, particularly for children. About 50 to 65% of the total exposure to lycopene (excluding lycopene added as a novel food ingredient) was originating from natural sources. The current revised exposure estimates indicated that, based on typical use levels, desserts, including flavoured milk products, non-alcoholic beverages and fine bakery products are important sources of lycopene from food colours.