Color additives such as what you see in many foods and beverages are dyes, pigments, and other substances that alter the color of a food, drug, or cosmetic item (or even the human body). Common items that contain dyes are fruit punches, toothpaste, cough syrup, and cereal.
The FDA states that color additives are safe when used correctly, but since the FDA cannot guarantee absolute certainty on any one substance, many proceed with caution when using color additives. When deciding if a new type of color additive will be approved with FDA food registration or not, they will determine if there is a reasonable certainty of no harm for its use.
The FDA regulates color additives that are only used in the United States. They are subject to the law for approval and can only be used in compliance with approved uses. The FDA will evaluate safety data to ensure it is safe to use for the intended purpose. The FDA has banned the use of color additives that cause cancer in animals and humans.
Some additives are exempt from batch certifications, which are sourced from plant, animal, and mineral sources. They are exempt from batch certification requirements but must comply with regulatory requirements since they are still artificial color additives. Examples of this would be caramel color and grape color extract.
Approval for one type of use does not automatically guarantee approval for other uses. Each color additive must be approved every time it is intended for separate use, even in FDA device registration. No color additives may be approved for injection into the skin.