E160a is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU). It is used as a natural colouring agent in food and drink products.
The common names for E160a are:
- E160a(i) - Mixed Carotenes
- E160a(ii) - Beta-Carotenes
E160a is an orange / yellow colouring that, once in the body, is converted to Vitamin A.
E160a(i) is a synthetic mix of carotenes derived from carrots and is produced on a large scale commercially. However, carotenes also occur naturally in many orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. E160a is not soluble in water and the intensity of the colour tends to fade with exposure to light.
Frequent and prolonged close contact with E160a may result in discolouration of the skin. The colouring may not be suitable for vegetarians because gelatine, which is derived from cattle or fish, may be used as a stabilizer.
Examples of food and drink products that sometimes include E160a:
- green leaf vegetables
- fruit juices
- fruit squashes