Home Healthy Eating Citric acid (E 330): Application & recommendations

Citric acid (E 330): Application & recommendations

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 231 views

Citric acid (citric acid) may sound natural, but it is manufactured artificially and listed as an additive under the designation E 330. It is used in the food industry for a variety of purposes, including acidifying products. Read here what else citric acid is used for, how it is produced and whether you can consume it without hesitation.

What is citric acid?

Citric acid is a widespread acid in the plant kingdom and occurs as a metabolic product in all organisms. For example, it is in lemons, apples, pears or raspberries . The human body also metabolizes one kilogram of it per day.

Anyone who thinks of the natural acid from the yellow citrus fruits as a food additive is wrong. In the past, E 330 was actually extracted from lemons. However, this process was time-consuming and expensive, which is why citric acid is now produced industrially.

Citric acid is now produced using microorganisms. This is mainly due to the mold Aspergillus niger, which ferments together with raw materials containing sugar (molasses, corn, glucose) to form citric acid. These culture media are mostly plant-based, but genetically modified organisms may also be used. The pH of citric acid is low (< 3) .

E 330 is the most commonly added food additive. It is found in lemonade, confectionery, cheese and meat products, among other things. However, this increases the risk of tooth damage, especially for children who frequently drink children’s tea or iced tea with citric acid. Moderate consumption is therefore important.

What is citric acid used for?

Citric acid is generally permitted for food. Their salts, the so-called citrites, are used for various purposes, for example as an acidifier. To the citrites belong

As an antioxidant, E 330 also protects the aromas, vitamins and colors of many foods. Another property of citric acid is that it prevents protein from clotting. This is why citric acid is used in melting cheese and sterilizing milk and cream.

In addition, thanks to citric acid, meat does not turn grey, fruit does not turn brown and it improves the baking properties of flour and dough.

Some of the citrites may also be found in organic foods. Calcium and sodium citrate are used, for example, as leavening agents. The citric acid itself is also approved for use in organic products according to the EC Organic Regulation.

Some examples of the occurrence of E 330 in food are:

  • desserts, confectionery, ice cream
  • dry and condensed milk
  • Marmalade, Jam, Jelly
  • Cheese
  • fruit and vegetable preserves
  • baked goods, pasta
  • meat products
  • soft drinks, fruit juices and nectars
  • vegetable oils and fats
  • Fruit Vegetable

Pure citric acid is also often used for cleaning. It is suitable, for example, for descaling kitchen appliances.

Is citric acid harmful?

Citric acid is generally considered harmless to health because it is fully utilized by the body. With the exception of a few products such as juice (3 g/l), nectar (5 g/l) or goat’s milk (4 g/l) or those that may not be changed due to legal regulations, there are therefore no quantity restrictions in the food sector. The question of whether citric acid is toxic can therefore be answered with no. However, high consumption is not recommended.

For example, the molds used in the production of citric acid can cause allergies in sensitive people. Citric acid in ice and children’s teas also causes tooth damage, especially in children.

You’d also be better off consuming very little citric acid, especially if you’re pregnant , as studies suggest that excess consumption can lead to premature birth or fetal loss. However, the assumption that citric acid also damages the bones has not yet been proven.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should avoid eating foods with artificial citric acid as far as possible.

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