Canthaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment widely distributed in nature. Carotenoids belong to a larger class of phytochemicals known as terpenoids. The chemical formula of canthaxanthin is C40H52O2. It has E number E161g and is approved for use in the EU and USA however it is not approved for usage in Australia and New Zealand.
It was first isolated in edible mushrooms. It has also been found in green algae, bacteria, crustaceans, and fish such as carp, golden mullet,seabream and trush wrasse.
In the EU, canthaxanthin is allowed by law to be added to sausages of Strasbourg (mainly to those exported to France), as well as trout feed, salmon feed and poultry feed. The European Union limit is 80 mg/kg of feedstuffing,8 mg/kg in feed for egg laying hens and 25 mg/kg in feed for other poultry and salmonids.