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Annatto: It's in My Food, But What is it?

Annatto: It's in My Food, But What is it?

Since I am a major health nut, I always read labels before I buy food. I often see the ingredient Annatto listed on packages, so what is it?

It's a natural food coloring made from the ground up seed pods of - surprise, surprise - the annatto tree, which grows in Central and South America. It is also called the Achiote tree. After this tree flowers, it produces hairy pods that turn blackish-brown when ripe.

Annatto adds color to cheese, butter, margarine, rice, smoked fish, and microwave popcorn. It is often used as a substitute for the expensive herb saffron.

It also has antioxidants. I guess that doesn't really matter since you only ingest a small amount, but hey, it's better than nothing.

Well now I feel much better knowing Annatto really is an all natural food coloring. Much better than Red 40.

Join The Conversation
callan111 callan111 6 years
Please don't say that Annatto is safe to use. I have suffered from IBS for years. After cutting out Annatto totally in my diet did I see a drastic improvement in my IBS symptoms. Marlene Stein informed me that she too had suffered and after being off of Annatto finally after years realized she had an allergic reaction to it as I do. She is getting this message to everyone she can and makes no money from doing this.. please see her site that saved me.. Thanks and keep me posted if this helps you in anyway
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
It looks so weird...I can't imagine what people were thinking when they first got the idea to use stuff like this, you know? Smart people, though. Glad it's not bad for you!
wiggle wiggle 10 years
I ahve always wondered ehat that is. Looks freaky.
vrico2005 vrico2005 10 years
interesting :nerdgirl:
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