E415 – Xanthan Gum

E415 InfoCons Consumers Protection

What is E 415?

The food additive, E 415, is a substance that acts as an emulsifier, stabiliser, thickener, filler and binder.

E 451 is a fermentation gum. Chemically it is a high molecular weight polysaccharide obtained by aerobic fermentation of glucose in pure culture at ph = 6,0-7,5 and 28-30o C by the bacterium Xantomonas Campestris.

After fermentation, the biosynthesized mass is purified by extraction with ethanol, or with propan-2-ol, then dried and ground.

Contains D-glucose and D-mannose, D-glucuronic acid and pyruvic acid. It is obtained as potassium, sodium or calcium salts. [1],[2]

E415 food InfoCons Consumers Protection

Which foods contain the food additive E 415?

E 327 additive can be used in:

  • non-homogenised cream-based products,
  • dairy products,
  • sweets,
  • cream,
  • emulsified fat spreads with or without flavourings,
  • sauces,
  • toppings,
  • dressings,
  • snacks,
  • jams, jellies and marmalades,
  • fruit and vegetable spreads,
  • ice cream,
  • processed fruit and vegetables,
  • canned, meat products,
  • fish,
  • eggs,
  • seasoning,
  • soups,
  • edible membranes,
  • plant protein products, nutritional supplements,
  • Processed cereal-based foods and baby foods for infants and young children as defined in Directive 2006/125/EC,
  • Dietary foods for infants for special medical purposes and special infant formulae, etc. [3]

Read too:E551 – Silicon dioxide

It is also used as a carrier substance for other food additives.

What else can E 415 be found in?

In addition to food, E 415 can also be used in:

– Personal care products: Xanthan gum is also found in many personal care and beauty products. It allows these products to be thick, yet still flow easily from their containers. It also allows solid particles to suspend in liquids. The following are some common products that contain xanthan gum: Toothpaste, Creams, Lotions, Shampoo.

– Industrial products: Xanthan gum is used in many industrial products because of its ability to withstand different temperatures and pH levels, clinging to surfaces and thickening liquids while maintaining good flow.

– Common industrial products containing xanthan gum include: fungicides, herbicides and insecticides, earthenware, mortar, toilet bowl, paints, fluids used in oil drilling, adhesives e.g. wallpaper glue.5

Are there any side effects from consuming the food additive E 451?

At the doses used in food, according to health legislation, the additive does not pose a health risk to the consumer. It is considered a ballast substance, which aids digestion. At high doses, however, xanthangum has a laxative effect. Animal studies have shown that 15% of the additive is hydrolysed in the gastrointestinal tract (metabolised to CO2 ), while unabsorbed xanthan (85%) is excreted in the faeces. It does not accumulate in the body.

Read too:E950 Acesulfame K

After carcinogenicity, genotoxicity and other studies, EFSA concluded that there is no safety concern and no need for a numerical Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for xanthan gum (E415) when used as a food additive. However, there is a maximum use level for infants.[4]

Xanthan gum is derived from sugar. Sugar can come from many different sources, including wheat, corn, soy and dairy. People with severe allergies to these products may need to avoid foods containing xanthan gum unless they can determine from which source the xanthan gum comes.1

In premature infants it is advisable to avoid taking products containing xanthan because their intestines are still developing.

Xanthan gum can lower blood sugar levels so it should not be used by people taking certain medications or planning surgery.

Read too:E202 – Potassium sorbate

Consumption of this additive can be dangerous for people taking certain diabetes medications that can cause low blood sugar. It can also be dangerous for people who are planning to have surgery soon. These people should avoid large amounts of this additive until its effect on blood sugar is better understood.[5]

What are the characteristics of E 451 additive?

Xanthan gum is a high molecular weight polysaccharide produced by pure culture fermentation of a carbohydrate with strains of Xanthomonas campestris, purification by recovery with ethanol or 2-propanol, drying and grinding. It contains D-glucose and D-mannose as the dominant hexose units, together with D-glucuronic acid and pyruvic acid and is prepared as sodium, potassium or calcium salts. Its solutions are neutral.

Are Maprox =1 000 000. The additive is in the form of a cream-coloured powder. It is soluble in hot and cold water but insoluble in ethanol. When dissolved in water, it forms solutions of high viscosity, resembling weak gels. The viscosity of xanthan solutions is high even at low xanthan concentrations. It is stable at high temperatures over a wide pH range and increases in viscosity in the presence of salts. Xanthan solutions are pseudoplastic. It shows synergism with quar or locust bean gum. Loss on drying of the additive should not exceed 15% (at 105o C for 2 ½ hours). The total ash determined by calcining at 650o C (after drying at 105o C) is not more than 16% of the anhydrous substance. The pH of the 1% solution is 7.2. 1,[6]

How do we know that foods contain food additives?

According to the World Health Organization[7] , practices, standards and guidelines on food labelling are established globally. These standards are implemented in most countries and food manufacturers are obliged to indicate which additives are in their products. In the European Union, for example, there is legislation governing the labelling of food additives according to a set of predefined “E-numbers”. People with allergies or sensitivities to certain food additives should read labels carefully.

Read too:E122 – Azorubine

The World Health Organization encourages national authorities to monitor and ensure that food additives in foods and beverages produced in their countries comply with the uses, conditions and legislation.

How do I know what additives are in my food?

The Codex Alimentarius Commission sets standards and guidelines for food labelling. These standards are implemented in most countries and food manufacturers are obliged to indicate which additives are in their products. In the European Union, for example, there is legislation governing the labelling of food additives according to a set of predefined “E-numbers”. People with allergies or sensitivities to certain food additives should check labels carefully.

WHO encourages national authorities to monitor and ensure that food additives in food and beverages produced in their countries comply with permitted uses, conditions and legislation. National authorities should oversee the food business, which bears the primary responsibility for ensuring that the use of a food additive is safe and complies with legislation.7

Why is it necessary to use E 415?

The additive E 415, xanthan gum, is useful in the composition of food products containing salts and having an acid pH because of its properties to form viscous solutions. The high viscosity of the solutions formed under these conditions is very stable.

Read too:E407 – Caragenan

Due to its pseudoplasticity, it changes the texture and consistency of products during processing. It contributes to the release of flavouring substances from some foods, and they also become more fluid during chewing.

Xanthan gum is a good thickening agent, replacing starch in some cases. It can also replace starch in some canned products, as it is the substance that allows easier heat exchange. This protects food from possible degradation caused by high temperatures in processing.

It shows synergism with guar gum and locust bean gum, which is why they are used together in sauces, dressings, etc. In the case of semi-fluid dressings or mayonnaises, it acts as a stabiliser, preventing emulsions from breaking. Another characteristic of xanthan gum is its ability to retain water and keep products fresh for a longer period of time (in the case of flour and sugar products).

Read too:E 211 – Sodium Benzoate

Because of its properties to interact with starch and form a network with the ability to retain gas, similar to gluten, gluten-free breads are used in the manufacture of some varieties. In some products, xanthan gum prevents syneresis, gives freeze-thaw stability and influences their viscosity.1

Some studies have shown certain beneficial effects of xanthan consumption for example:

Weight loss: People have noticed increased satiety after consuming xanthan gum. It can increase fullness by delaying stomach emptying and slowing digestion.

Cancer-fighting properties: a study in mice with melanoma found that it significantly slows the growth of cancerous tumours and prolongs life. Human studies have not been completed, so it is not a certainty.

Read too:E129 – Alura AC

Thickens liquids: used to thicken liquids for those who have difficulty swallowing, such as older adults or people with neurological disorders.

Saliva substitute: is sometimes used as a saliva substitute for people suffering from dry mouth, but studies on its effectiveness have found mixed results.5

Conclusions and Legislative Regulations E 415

Xanthan gum (E415) is listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as an authorised food additive and classified under ‘additives other than colours and sweeteners’.[8]

Premature infants and people with extreme allergies should avoid xanthan gum. Also, those at risk of low blood sugar should avoid high doses of it.

[1]Elena Oranescu, Food Additives-necessity and risk, SemnE Publishing House, 2005, Bucharest

[2] https://koaha.org/wiki/Gomma_di_xantano#

[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.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4909

[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xanthan-gum#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

[6] COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 231/2012 of 9 March 2012 laying down specifications for food additives listed in Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council

[7] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/food-additives

[8] https://foodadditives.net/thickeners/xanthan-gum/#easy-footnote-bottom-3-1334

9 https://www.pexels.com/ro-ro/fotografie/tabel-fierbinte-canicula-temperatura-ridicata-3622479/

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