E175 is a natural metal food additive approved by the European Union (EU). It is used as a colouring agent in food and drink products.
The common name for E175 is gold, i.e. the chemical element gold.
E175 is, as the name suggests, a gold colouring. It is only used as a coating on surfaces. Gold is extracted by the cyanide process (extracting gold from its ore by treatment with sodium cyanide) or by amalgamation with mercury. Amalgamation involves gold being drawn into mercury to form an alloy - amalgam. The mercury can then be removed by being dissolved in nitric acid, leaving gold.
When tested in labs, gold has been associated with effects similar to tumours in animals.
E175 is banned in food products in Australia.
Examples of food and drink products that sometimes include E175:
- sugar-coated flour confectionery
- chocolate confectionary decorations