Children are more likely to exceed the recommended daily intake of colouring lycopene, Europe’s top food scientists have said.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has warned that while, on average, the consumption of lycopene is at an acceptable level, children may be consuming more.
Lycopene is a red carotenoid that occurs naturally in various fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes.
The use of lycopene from tomatoes is permitted to colour food. However, synthetic lycopene and lycopene fermented from blakeslea trispora have not been given approval because of questions over how much should be consumed each day.
Non-alcoholic flavoured drinks are the largest potential source of lycopene in all population groups, contributing up to 66% of all lycopene intake in male adults and more than 90% in pre-school children, the EFSA said.
Under the Novel Foods Regulation, EFSA’s is presently carrying out an evaluation of new proposed food uses of lycopene.
Two opinions on lycopene oleoresin from tomatoes and synthetic lycopene as novel foods are likely to be adopted by EFSA this spring 2008, the agency said.