The black foods such as croissants or other baked products, are prepared with the addition of charcoal, also called activated charcoal. It is a finely divided form of coal, produced by the steam activation of raw materials of activated origin. It is used both as a food coloring and as an intestinal adsorbent supplement, for the treatment of disorders such as flatulence and swelling.
For the symptomatic treatment of these disorders, activated carbon is effective in doses of 1 gram, to be taken at least 30 minutes before and immediately after the meal. In the preparation of bakery products, the added quantity is usually 15-20 g per kilogram of wheat flour. This means that the amount that is taken with a brioches is lower than those considered effective.
This consideration is useful for understanding why this ingredient in food is considered simply a coloring additive. Its use has attracted the attention of consumers, who were led by a misleading communication to think that black foods were healthier, and public bodies, which evaluated their safety.
Black foods: What are they?
Products of the bakery with the addition of charcoal, considers the eligible ingredient in the production of a fine bakery product, while not in bread. Furthermore, in the same note, it establishes that:
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It is not permissible to add in the labeling, presentation or advertising of the product any information referring to the beneficial effects of activated carbon for the human organism, given its clear use exclusively as a coloring additive.
Moreover, the starting material for the preparation of the activated coal is different from that used for the production of other coal-based products: this suggests that the activated carbon probably does not contain carcinogens or, if present, the level is very low. The controls, as already highlighted, were performed using a validated analytical method with a detection limit of 0.1 μg / kg.
The evaluation of safety, if anything, follows the doubt on its utility in favoring, when used as a coloring additive, gastrointestinal well-being. Its addition in baked goods is a dubious function. Activated carbon is an adsorbent substance and also binds nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, as well as drugs. For this reason it is considered an anti-nutritional substance: those who take medicinal treatments should avoid doing this in the interval between 30 minutes before and 2 hours after taking coal. Although it is good to remember how the amount of activated carbon used for the production of black foods are in fact much lower than what is taken as a food supplement, to alleviate some intestinal disorders.