What is Gold, and where is it used? Gold (E175) is a food additive used to enhance the visual appeal of various food products [1-3]. Known for its distinctive golden hue, gold is a precious metal that has been utilised for centuries in various applications, including culinary purposes. Classified under the code E175, gold is used sparingly in the food industry as a decorative element, particularly for high-end or luxury food items.
Gold is primarily used as a food colourant rather than a preservative. It imparts a luxurious and elegant golden sheen to foods and beverages, making them more enticing and aesthetically pleasing [1-3]. It is important to note that gold (E175) itself is inert and does not possess any significant flavour or aroma, allowing it to seamlessly blend with a wide range of food products without altering their taste profiles.
The application of gold (E175) in the food industry is typically limited to certain high-value products, such as:
Confectionery: Gold leaf or gold dust is often used to decorate confectioneries like chocolates, candies, and pastries, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to these delicacies .
Beverages: Gold flakes or gold dust are occasionally employed to enhance the visual appeal of certain beverages, such as sparkling wines, cocktails, and specialty beverages, giving them a luxurious and extravagant appearance .
Gourmet Dishes: In the realm of fine dining and gourmet cuisine, gold flakes or gold leaf are sometimes applied to dishes like desserts, appetisers, and main courses, elevating their presentation and creating a visually striking culinary experience.
It is worth noting that the use of gold (E175) as a food additive is relatively limited due to its high cost and its association with luxury or special occasions. As such, it is primarily utilised in niche or upscale food products where its visual impact and exclusivity are highly valued.
Purported Health Implications
Gold (E175) is primarily used as a food colourant rather than for its nutritional benefits. It is important to note that gold (E175) is considered inert and does not possess any significant nutritional value . Therefore, consuming gold as a food colourant does not provide specific health benefits beyond its aesthetic appeal.
Recommendations for Safe Consumption
Gold (E175) is generally regarded as safe for consumption when used in accordance with regulatory guidelines and within permitted limits. However, it is essential to keep the following factors in mind:
Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to gold . If you have a known allergy to gold or experience any adverse reactions after consuming foods or beverages containing gold (E175), it is advisable to avoid its consumption and seek medical advice.
Purity and Source: The quality and purity of gold used in food products are crucial . It is imperative to ensure that the gold used is food-grade and free from any impurities or contaminants that may pose a health risk.
Regulatory Approval: Gold (E175) as a food additive is subject to regulatory evaluations and approvals such as Food Standards Australia New Zealand and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) [5, 7]. It is essential for food manufacturers to comply with the specific guidelines and maximum permitted levels set by regulatory agencies to ensure safe consumption.
Dietary Exposure: The overall dietary exposure to gold from food products is typically minimal due to its limited usage and specific application in high-value foods. The contribution of gold (E175) to the total dietary intake is negligible for the general population. It is important to prioritise a balanced and varied diet that includes a wide range of nutrient-rich foods to obtain essential nutrients (of which gold is not) and promote overall health and well-being.
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We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources. There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.