E950 Acesulfame K

What is Acesulfame K- E950?

Additive E950, acesulfame K is a synthetic sweetener with high sweetening power.

Sweeteners have been used since ancient times to satisfy people’s innate need for sweet taste. Depending on the caloric intake they bring to food, sweeteners can be classified into 3 categories:

– nutritive sweeteners which are generally natural sugars or derivatives thereof,

– macronutrient sugar substitutes – category of sweeteners with low caloric content but with functional properties similar to sugar. This category includes polyols obtained by reducing mono- and oligosaccharides, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc.

– non-nutritive sweeteners with high sweetening power, compounds that give the sweet taste from concentrations much lower than those required for sucrose and which are either not metabolized in the body, or do not contribute to the energy intake from food and beverages. Non-nutritive sweeteners can also be classified into two categories: natural products: thaumatin, glycyrrhizin, stevioside, miraculin, philodulcin, etc. or synthetic or semi-synthetic products: saccharin, cyclamates, aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose, etc.

The chemical formula of acesulfame K is: C4H4N04KS and the molecular mass (M) is 201.24.

Read too:E551 – Silicon dioxide

Acesulfame K can also be found under the following names: acesulfame potassium, acesulfame, potassium salt of 3,4 dihydro-6-methyl-1,2,3, oxathiazin-4-one 2,2 dioxide.

Its chemical name is 6-methyl-1,2,3oxathiazin-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide potassium salt.

How is acesulfame K-E950 obtained?

Acesulfame K was accidentally discovered in 1967 during investigations on oxathiazine dioxides.

Acesulfame K is obtained industrially from the tert-butyl ester of acetylacetic acid, by treating it with fluorosulfonyl isocyanate. From the reaction resulted an intermediate compound, which upon heating decomposes into acetyl acetic acid N-fluorosulfonylamide, isobutene and carbon dioxide. Acesulfame K is obtained through the cyclization of N-fluorosulfonylamide of acetyl acetic acid, a reaction that takes place in the presence of potassium hydroxide.

A more modern process for the synthesis of acesulfame K has diacetene and an amido-sulfonic acid as raw materials.

Which foods contain the food additive E950?

Acesulfame K or E950 can be found in the following products and foods:

– desserts and similar products, such as water-based flavored desserts, milk-based preparations and derived products;

– desserts based on fruits and vegetables, with or without added sugar;

– egg-based desserts, with or without added sugar;

– cereal-based desserts;

– fat-based desserts, with or without added sugar;

– drinks based on milk and derived products or based on fruit juice with reduced energy value or without added sugar;

– cereals used for breakfast;

Read too: E202 – Potassium sorbate

– ready-to-eat “snacks” based on starch or glazed, dried nuts and peanuts, containing certain flavors;

– confectionery products without added sugar;

– confectionery products based on cocoa or dried fruit, with reduced energy value or without added sugar;

– confectionery products based on starch or in spreads based on cocoa, milk, dried fruits or fats;

– chewing gum without added sugar, breath freshener drops;

– cider, pear brandy, beer, spirits;

– non-alcoholic drinks, for example in water-based flavored drinks, with reduced energy value or without added sugar;

– preserved fruits with reduced energy value or without added sugar;

– jams, jellies and marmalades with low energy value, canned fruit and sweet-sour vegetables;

– soft candies and hard candies.

– canned and semi-canned fish, in fish, crustacean and mollusc marinades, in sauces, mustard, vinegar;

– soups and stews;

– coffee, coffee substitutes, tea, herbal infusions.

Where else can acesulfame K-E950 be found in?

Acesulfame K can also be found in dietary food supplements with vitamins or mineral elements, being either a syrup or chewables, in the diet  food or nutritional intakes used under medical supervision.

Read too:E122 – Azorubine

Acesulfame K is also used in pharmaceutical products or oral hygiene products (toothpaste, mouthwash) because it masks the bitter or unpleasant taste of some ingredients in these products.

Are there side effects after consuming the food additive E950?

Acesulfame K has the advantage of rapid elimination from the body after its ingestion and absorption. Studies have also shown that this additive is eliminated without undergoing any changes.

In the scientific literature, there have been no reports of serious health problems in humans associated with the use of acesulfame-K.

What are the characteristics of acesulfame K-E950?

Acesulfame K is a crystallized solid compound, or a white crystalline powder.

It has a pronounced sweet taste, being 200 times sweeter than sucrose. It is a non-hygroscopic substance and its melting point is 2250C.

Acesulfame K is very soluble in water, but less soluble in ethanol, methanol or acetone.

The pH of aqueous solutions is about 7.

The additive has high stability in aqueous solutions for the pH ranges between 3 and 7, both in the dark and in the light.

Acesulfame K exhibits stability to heating, baking or UHT treatment. This stability increases its possibilities of use compared to other artificial sweeteners.

Read too:E407 – Caragenan

When drying the product at a temperature of 1050C for two hours, the permissible losses are 1%.

According to the Codex Alimentarius, the dose of incorporation into food varies between 110 and 5000 mg/kg. The lowest dose can be added to soups and stews, 110 mg/kg while the highest dose can be added to chewing gum.

Acesuflam K is added in doses of 350 mg/kg in foods with added sugar and in doses between 500 and 2500 mg/kg in foods without added sugar.

Why is it necessary to use Acesuflam K?

Acesuflamului K is used in the food industry as a dietary sweetener as well as for technological reasons. It is a non-caloric sweetener that is used for the nutrition of diabetics or in hypocaloric diets.

Read too:E 211 – Sodium Benzoate

Acesulfame K has a wide field of use, because from a technological point of view it has a high technological and microbiological stability, it does not caramelize, its hygroscopicity is very low and in certain situations, it has the property of flavor enhancer.

An advantage of this additive is that it is stable over time, in the dark and in the light. At pH = 7.5 in aqueous solutions, it lasts for a long time without decomposing.

It has the advantage that it does not degrade, even when pasteurizing acidic food products. Another advantage of using this additive is that it is not metabolized by intestinal flora or bacteria found in food products.

The need to use acesulfame K is also due to the fact that its sweet taste is close to that of sucrose at low concentrations and sets in quickly.

Acesulfame K has a synergistic effect with other sweeteners, which is why it is used in combination with aspartame or sodium cyclamate.

What are food additives?

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), substances that are added to food to maintain or improve the safety, freshness, taste, texture or appearance of food are known as food additives. For centuries, food additives have been used to preserve food, for example salt (in meat, bacon or dried fish), sugar (in marmalade) or sulfur dioxide (in wine).

Over time, numerous food additives have been developed to meet the needs of food production, as large-scale food manufacturing is much more complex than producing it at home on a small scale.

The introduction of food additives is done to ensure that processed food remains safe and in good condition throughout its journey from factories or industrial kitchens to warehouses and stores and finally to consumers.

Read too:E415 – Xanthan Gum

The use of food additives is justified only when their use has a technological necessity, does not mislead consumers and serves a well-defined technological function such as preserving the nutritional quality of food or increasing food stability.

Food additives can be derived from plants, animals or minerals, or they can be synthetic. They are intentionally added to food to fulfill certain technological purposes. There are several thousand food additives in use, all designed to perform a specific task, usually to make food more durable or more appealing.

Conclusions and Legislative Regulations E950

In 1984 the EU’s Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) established an acceptable daily dose of 9 mg/kg body weight for acesulfame K based on a chronic study in dogs. In 2000, based on another study SCF restored the ADI in the range of 0-9 mg/kg body/day.

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration established the ADI of 15 mg/kg body weight.

Acesulfame K (E 950) is authorized for use as a sweetener in several food categories with maximum permitted levels in accordance with Annex II to Regulation (EC) no. 1333/2008. When used as a table sweetener (in liquid, powder or tablet form) it is authorized as quantum satis.

Its use in the category of dietetic food for special medical purposes defined in Directive 1999/21/EC is authorized up to the level of 450 mg/kg, except for dietetic products.

Read too:E129 – Alura AC

The permitted doses in foods for infants and young children for special medical purposes and special infant formulas are defined by Directive 1999/21/EC.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Commission Regulation (Eu) 2018/1497 of 8 October 2018 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards food category 17 and the use of food additives in food supplements,
  2. General Standard For Food Additives Codex Stan 192-1995 Adopted in 1995. Revision 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2016 , 2017, 2018, 2019,
  3. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011 of 11 November 2011 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing a Union list of food additives
  4. https://www.fao.org/gsfaonline/additives/details.html?id=104,

5.https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states,

  1. Regulation (EC) no. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/RO/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02008R1333-20160525&from=FR,
  2. Elena Oranescu, Food additives-necessity and risk, SemnE Publishing House, 2005, Bucharest, page 313-314
  3. Raluca Stan, Natural and synthetic food additives, 2007, Printech Publishing House, Bucharest,
  4. Safety of the proposed extension of use of acesulfame K (E 950) in foods for special medical purposes in young children, adopted: 10 March 2016, published: 5 April 2016 doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2016.4437,
  5. Kathleen Meister, Ruth Kava, Low-calorie Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes: A Review of the Safety Issues Manfred Kroger, Vol. 5, 2006—Comprehensive Reviews In Food Science And Food Safety, pp. 36-37.

Author: Fulvia Ancuța Manolache

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