NATCOL Membership

NATCOL membership benefits include

  • We have a broad Membership which reflects the wider interests of producers, customers and ultimately consumers.
  • We give members a voice in decisions that have a direct impact on the industry, and provide crucial regulatory information on topics affecting their business.
  • We offer scientific expertise and support on regulatory issues.
  • We propose an extensive network of contacts for lobbying purposes.
  • We hold regular meetings and also provide updates on breaking regulatory news and other topical issues.
  • We are strongly positioned to influence legislative processes both at EU level and globally through our international and European linkages.


NATCOL membership is open to any manufacturer, seller or distributor of Natural Colours and/or Colouring Foods and any producer of raw materials for the manufacturing of these products.

Associate membership is open to food manufacturers, users, Associations and R&D Institutes not being manufacturers of Natural Colours and/or Colouring Foods.

Membership ranges from local producers to international companies and encompasses a wide range of expertise. Since its inception, NATCOL has grown in size and in influence.

Our Members


NATCOL is administered through an Executive Committee, comprising of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer and other elected members. The Executive Committee meets two to three times annually or as the need arises.

The Association is managed by its Secretariat currently operating from England.

NATCOL convenes one General Meeting (AGM) per year.


Working Groups

To increase efficiency, Members get together in expert Working Groups to examine specific issues in detail. The current Working Groups are:

NATCOL Working Group Legislation (WGL)

The Working Group Legislation (WGL) main role is to provide for a forum for all Members to discuss any legislation which is of particular interest and/or directly impacting the natural food colours and/or colouring foods manufacturers and users.
The WGL aim is to anticipate legislative changes and influence decision-making processes at EU and international levels (e.g. European Commission, Codex Alimentarius, US Food and Drug Administration). It also reaches and co-ordinates common positions on regulatory issues related to food colours and colouring foods and required lobbying actions.

Working Group on Defining ‘Natural Colour’ (WGNC)

Because of an increasing consumer preference for the use of natural colours in food products, this WG was established in 2008 to review the definition of “Natural Colour” to help consumers make a fair and informed choice, based on clear and informative labelling.

NATCOL adopted in 2009 two main documents: a “Position Paper on Natural Colours” and the “NATCOL Classification of Colours”. NATCOL classifies food colours into four categories based on the key discriminators (i.e. occurrence in nature, source material used, and manufacturing process employed) and suggests labelling guidelines for each category.

The Position Paper and further clarification of the classification scheme for Natural Colours as proposed by NATCOL are posted on the website.
NATCOL’s approach is clearly different from the one presented in the ISO Technical specifications on the “Definitions and technical criteria for food ingredients to be considered as natural” which intends to define “natural food ingredients” for use in B2B communication. Therefore, NATCOL decided to position itself regarding this ISO document and finalised a document dated 2017 which is also posted on NATCOL’s website.

NATCOL Working Group on Codex (WGC)

This Group was created in 2018 in order to further enhance NATCOL’s involvement at Codex level. The group focuses in priority on the work of the Codex General Standard for Food Additives, the International Numbering System for Food Additives and the Alignment of food additives provisions in standards.

NATCOL Working Group on Colouring Foodstuffs (WGCF)

The NATCOL Working Group on Colouring Foodstuffs coordinates the NATCOL position with regard to Colouring Foodstuffs (WGCF) and their use in the colouring of foods.

Task Forces

In order to respond to scientific data/information requests on natural colours, at the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) level and by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), NATCOL also works through Task Forces, which have the characteristics to be self-funded regarding testing/analytical expenses.

Several Task Forces have been created over the years and their main objectives and latest main achievements are the following:

Annatto Task Force, was originally set up in 1998 to generate the dossier for the JECFA evaluation of Annatto Extracts (2003 & 2006). The Task Force also prepared and submitted data to EFSA, including specific additional genotoxicity testing, in the framework of its re-evaluation of annatto extracts. The final submission of data to address the outstanding EFSA questions was made end October 2015. The EFSA scientific opinion on the safety of annatto extracts E 160b as food additive issued on 24 August 2016, evaluated positively and accepted as safe four out of five of the annatto extracts. The exposure assessment of annatto colouring principles bixin and norbixin (E 160b) when used as food additives was then issued on 13 July 2017.

In the meantime, NATCOL completed the necessary (mutagenicity) tests regarding the safety of the fifth annatto extract (Annatto E) and reviewed the bixin/norbixin levels for specific Food Categories by strengthening technical justifications. The EFSA scientific opinion published on 13 March 2019 on the safety of annatto E and the exposure to the annatto colouring principles bixin and norbixin (E 160b) when used as a food additive concluded that Annatto E does not raise genotoxicity concerns and that the level of exposure does not raise a health concern. Therefore, the 2016 ADIs for bixin and norbixin also apply to Annatto E and all five Annatto extracts have now been re-evaluated positively on the basis of data submitted by the industry.
Since, NATCOL works in order to answer any issue/question the EU Commission or Member States might raise in the framework of the setting of future annatto specifications.

Anthocyanin Task Force, following the publication of the EFSA scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of Anthocyanins (E 163) as food additive dated March 2013, NATCOL has collected data to commission a report on compositional data and Anthocyanins profiling in purple coloured vegetables to fill in the existing data gaps on characterisation for a selection of source materials and extracts (i.e. Black carrot – Red radish – Red cabbage – Purple sweet potato). This report was finalised in January 2018. The Task Force has now to work on the characterisation and manufacturing data for the four (4) anthocyanin sources.

In the meantime, the Task Force participated in the JECFA call for data on Black Carrot by aligning with IACM on the monograph content and data submission. A joint NATCOL/IACM submission to JECFA made on 20 December 2018. Since, NATCOL is answering JECFA’s questions.

Carmine Task Force, was created for the development of outstanding genotoxicity studies on Carminic Acid containing products which were submitted to EFSA, as part of the re-evaluation of Cochineal, Carminic acid, Carmines (E 120). The EFSA scientific opinion was published in December 2015 and outlined the need for revision of the E 120 specification amongst other recommendations.

NATCOL collected additional scientific data and information in order to be able to answer all the EFSA recommendations and the EU Commission and Member States’ questions. In September 2018, the EU Commission finalised its re-evaluation process by issuing Regulation 2018/1472 which presents the new specifications for Cochineal, Carminic acid and Carmines (E 120). These specifications are in line with NATCOL’s supportive scientific evidence and its dedicated research.

Carotenes Task Force has been created mainly to up-date specifications for E 160 a (i, ii, iii, iv) on the basis of the 2012 EFSA scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of mixed carotenes (E 160a (i)) and beta-carotene (E 160a (ii)) as a food additive. NATCOL is still collecting information and data on the basis of the EFSA recommendations and is considering a data gap analysis to make sure it will be able to cover all potentially pending issues.

At the same time, NATCOL decided to answer JECFA’s call for data on β-carotene, β-carotene from Blakeslea Trispora, β-apo-8′-carotenal and β-apo-8′-carotenoic acid methyl and ethyl esters but to only focus on β-carotene, β-carotene from Blakeslea Trispora and β-apo-8′-carotenal. NATCOL worked on specifications, toxicology and intake on which it submitted data to JECFA in January 2019. Since, NATCOL answers JECFA’s questions.

Chlorophylls Task Force funded the characterisation/chemical analysis of Chlorophylls (E 140i & 140ii) in response to specific requests from EFSA. The publication of the EFSA scientific opinions on E 140i & E 140ii were made in May 2015 and on E 141i & E 141ii in June 2015. The opinions concluded that Chlorophyll itself was not of safety concern because it was a part of the normal diet but EFSA considered that there was limited data available and more research would be required to fully assess all these products. The Task Force decided to answer the 2017 call for data published by the EU Commission and submitting a project plan to provide the needed data only for E 140(i) chlorophylls. A complete data set was collected, compiled and submitted to EU Commission end 2018 and beginning 2019.

Lutein Task Force main aim is to follow and support lutein and lutein esters at Codex level.

Lycopene Task Force was formed to work on the potential extension of use for Lycopene (E 160d).

Paprika Task Force, prepared the submission for JECFA evaluation of Paprika Extracts (2008) with a successful outcome in June 2014. The Task Force also submitted data to EFSA in the framework of its re-evaluation of Paprika Extract (E 160c) in September 2014 that led to a successful EFSA scientific opinion in December 2015.

The Group prepared and presented for adoption provisions for the use and use levels of Paprika Extract INS 160c (ii) into the step process of the GSFA at the Codex Committee on Food Additives in 2017.

Safflower Task Force, was created in 2018 in order to start collecting and assess data currently available via literature review on the consumption of safflower.

Spirulina Task Force, was involved in the IACM draft monograph on spirulina end 2017. In order to complete this now joint submission, NATCOL is gathering data and information in order to better identify and characterise spirulina.

Vegetable Carbon Task Force was created to provide information to EU Commission on E 153 specifications. This involved contacting suppliers, collect and compile data through an external consultancy and prepare a report.

Note: When Task Forces finalise their work they become “dormant” (e.g. on Lycopene or Curcumin).

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