D.D. Williamson, Louisville, Ky., has introduced certified organic annatto extracts for coloring, which the company says is the first available in North America. Quality Assurance International, an agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, certified D.D. Williamson’s processing facility in Port Washington, Wis.
D.D. Williamson offers both water-soluble and oil-soluble versions of the extract. Companies may label it as "organic annatto extract" on ingredient statements in the United States. Applications for water-soluble annatto include cheese, ice cream, snacks, breakfast cereal and baked foods. Applications for oil-soluble annatto include cheese, margarine, spreads, vegetable oil, salad dressing, snacks, frosting and confectionery coating.
The hue of annatto ranges from yellow to orange. Annatto, a carotenoid, is extracted from the outer coat surrounding the seeds of Bixa orellana trees that grow in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, India and the Philippines.
"Customers of organic-compliant annatto products asked us to develop a range of certified organic annatto so they could offer 100% certified organic food products," said Campbell Barnum, global vice-president of marketing for D.D. Williamson. "DDW’s Science and Innovation Team responded with sourcing and extracting certified organic colorings to cover a broad range of organic food applications."
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