Everything You Need to Know About Dye Allergies
If you’re like most people in the world, you consume or come into contact with dye on a daily basis. Food, drugs, personal care products and textiles all make use of dye to change product appearance and help with identification. In the manufacturing world, dye is a critical component of a product — but it can have significant ramifications for specific customers.
People with dye allergies must be extra careful with the products they use and the food they consume. Let’s take a closer look at allergies to food dyes and what they mean for a product.
What Is Dye?
Dyes come from a wide variety of natural and synthetic sources. Each dye has its own properties and associated regulations. People have been dyeing products for centuries and have developed a range of styles and types of dyes. Food, drugs and textiles may all use different dyes to get their final colors.
One distinguishing characteristic of a dye is that it chemically bonds to the material, as opposed to pigments that do not bind to the substance. Its qualities become part of the item and can have effects on people who consume or come into contact with it.
What Are Dyes Used For?
Dyes are essential for a wide array of purposes, including:
- They make products look better. If your ketchup were a sickly brown color, it probably wouldn’t look very appealing. Dye can improve the visual appearance of various products, attracting customers and making their experience more enjoyable. In products like cosmetics, the dye is essential to give them the right color.
- They can help identify variations. Different flavors or options can benefit from various colors to help distinguish them from each other. In the world of pharmaceuticals, the right color can be critical in the proper identification of a drug.
- They improve consistency. Whether you buy a product in New York or Los Angeles, you expect similar levels of quality from the same manufacturer. During production, natural products can appear quite different. When you ensure the same colors and appearances are present consistently, customers retain confidence in your product each time they buy.
One of the most significant uses of dyes is in the food and beverage industry. You can also find dyes in cosmetic products, personal care items and drugs. Some products that frequently use dye include the following:
Spectrophotometers measure light through wavelength distribution, and scientists use these instruments to measure different types of light, including visible and near-ultraviolet. Scientists wanted to obtain these measurements at a higher speed and resolution, and the double beam spectrophotometer meets this need.
Understanding Double Beam Spectrophotometers
A double beam spectrophotometer is an instrument that determines the absorption of light in liquid or gas samples in graduated cylinders. Its components are:
- Light source
- Sample holder
Clear liquid purity is measured using the APHA color scale and is essential for ensuring product safety and consistency and many various industries. Image Source: Flickr user Nathan Forget
Purity is an important factor imperative in the foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the water we drink. However, visual analysis of clear liquid color measurement is highly subjective, leaving a high margin of error in purity analysis. Color measurement using the APHA color index allows these various industries to maintain safety and consistency in their products.
Spectrophotometers are prominent devices in many industries, and they offer value for many purposes. Calibration curves are one way users employ spectrophotometers. This technique, much like the device, is useful across many applications. At HunterLab, we specialize in spectrophotometers and support operations that create calibration curves.
What Is a Calibration Curve?
A calibration curve is a way to identify the concentration of an unknown substance. These curves use data points of known substances at varying concentrations, and researchers or developers can use these curves to find where an unknown substance plots. A spectrophotometer assists in gathering absorbance for varying concentrations.
This system of identifying unknown substances is valuable to many industries. For example, you may find a calibration curve in coffee production for determining a roast. With a plot of caffeine content, roasters can discover where a bean falls. A calibration curve for the food industry may chart food dye concentrations for gelatin.
Other applications can include:
Simply put, a calibration curve is useful in any situation where a substance is unknown.
What Is a Spectrophotometer and How Is It Used?
The commercial beverage industry utilizes food dye additives to create a rainbow of color choices which appeal to today’s market. Image Source: Flickr’ user The Kingsway School
This past weekend marked the end of my youngest son’s recreational basketball league and like most youth sports teams, we headed to our local pizza parlor to celebrate. Of course with the free range soda fountain, the ever popular “graveyard” soda pick was popularized that evening by none other than my own 8-year-old son. To those of you who are uneducated in the “graveyard” refreshment, it consists of a random selection of all soda fountain choices that when combine create a unique taste and color sensation. As I watched him mix his drink creation, I noticed that the selections have greatly expanded since the original “graveyard” beverage choices from my youth. Not only have the flavor choices expanded, but thanks to the analysis of food dyes in beverages, there are now many more vivid color choices available as well.
From bright colored soda flavors to multi-colored sports drinks and even flavored spirits, today’s beverage color selections have far exceeded the normal range of hues. Not only do the unique flavor combinations help sell the product, but the analysis of food dyes in beverages also play an important role in product formulation. With only a limited number of dyes approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in foods, commercial beverage manufacturers must rely on only seven FD&C dyes to create the entire palette of artificial food colors to formulate the many color choices in today’s liquid refreshment selections1. Spectrophotometers offer a simple yet effective tool needed to maintain color consistency and quality in commercial beverages and can simplify the formulation process by quantifying and storing this information for batch-to-batch repeatability.
Spectral range is essential to measuring visible light spectrum wavelengths and giving your organization insight into its forensic test samples. With a spectrophotometer from HunterLab, you can test the spectral range of your forensic samples with unparalleled accuracy and insight.
Spectral range refers to the range of color wavelengths a spectrophotometer can measure. Spectrophotometers measure electromagnetic radiation by dividing it into spectral ranges depending on each color’s wavelength. Spectral wavelengths range from 10 nm hard gamma radiation wavelengths to kilometer long-wave broadcast wavelengths. Every color exists in a wavelength range of 380-780 nm, which are the same wavelengths perceived by the human eye. Spectrophotometers allow humans to perceive the accurate wavelength of color in an objective and reproducible fashion.
The Importance of Spectrophotometry
Spectrophotometry is a form of electromagnetic spectroscopy that takes quantitative measurements of reflective and transmissive properties. The pharmaceutical, food and forensics industries frequently use spectrophotometers to test the color of their samples and products using quantitative wavelength measurements. Using spectrophotometry, you can test the quality of everything from coffee and tomatoes to advanced biopharmaceuticals.
Spectrophotometry is essential in biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, material science and molecular biology.
Foods vary in color, texture, and consistency. Developing a color classification system ensures that the right methods and instrumentation are used to generate the most accurate color data. Image Source: Flickr user Pen Waggener
Color measurement is a common practice in the food industry and provides a consistent and quantitative analysis of color. True color is often misrepresented by a variety of factors such as human color perception differences, variations in lighting conditions, and the angle of observation. Since various foods respond differently to these numerous elements, a color classification system has been developed to help food manufacturers make the best decisions in color measurement instrumentation based on food appearances and consistencies.
Since various foods respond differently to these numerous elements, a color classification system has been developed to help food manufacturers make the best decisions in color measurement instrumentation based on food appearances and consistencies.