E500 sodium carbonate

What is sodium-E500 carbonate?


E 500 food additive belongs to the category of emulsifiers. It is an acid-regulating agent, loosening, stabilizing, growing and anti-caking agent.

How many forms does the E500 additive come in?


Additive E 500-sodium carbonate, occurs in three forms:

– E 500(i) – Sodium carbonate. It has as synonyms: soda ash (in anhydrous state), crystallized soda, laundry soda or sodium neutral carbonate.

In nature, sodium carbonate is found in large quantities in the form of a mixture of carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, dissolved in the water of alkaline lakes without leakage. In dry regions it is deposited in crusts, on the banks of some lakes. He also met in the ashes of some marine plants, from where he was extracting himself.

Sodium carbonate has the following raw formula: Na2CO3 and the molecular weight is M=106.

– E 500(ii) – Sodium carbonate acid. It has as synonyms: hydrogen and sodium carbonate or baking soda. Sodium acid carbonate has the raw formula NaHCO3, and the molecular weight is M=84,08.

E 500(iii) Sodium sesquicarbonate – sodium carbonate mixture with sodium acid carbonate It is acidity regulator, anti-caking agent and growth agent.


How to obtain sodium carbonate?


Sodium carbonate is obtained industrially by two processes:

– Leblanc process (less used nowadays). It used as raw material sodium chloride which is treated with sulfuric acid. This reaction resulted in sodium sulfate heating to 950°C together with limestone and charcoal in a fireplace oven. Finally, sodium carbonate. This method was not used much because it had some problems with toxic waste derivatives but also because the process requires a few high temperature operations.

– Solvay or ammonia process was developed in its modern form by Ernest Solvay during the 1860s.  In this process sodium chloride is dissolved in the water into which ammonia is inserted and then pressurized carbon dioxide. Sodium acid carbonate is formed, which, by heating, turns into neutral sodium carbonate anhydrous. [1]


Which foods can E500 be used in?


Most commonly, sodium carbonates are used in the food industry, in confectionery as baking powder, as an acidity regulator and anti-caking component.


Food additives – E500 can be added to the following categories of food:


  • Dehydrated milk, as defined in Directive 2001/114/EC-quantum satis,
  • Matured cheese, E 500(ii)- quantum satis, sour milk cheese only,
  • Pasteurized cream, pasteurized cream,
  • Caseinate edible, quantum satis,
  • Butter and concentrated butter, butter oil and anhydrous milk fat, quantum satis only in sour cream butter, butter,
  • Cocoa and chocolate products, as regulated by Directive 2000/36/C, maximum level E500-E504, 70 000 mg/kg, kg,
  • Meat preparations as defined in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, quantum satis exception only poultry meat preparations, grilled minced meat rolls, bifteki, soutzoukaki, kebap, seftalia, seftalia,
  • Table sweeteners in liquid form, quantum satis,
  • Powdered table sweeteners, quantum satis,
  • Salts, spices, soups, sauces, salads, and protein products,
  • Salt and salt substitutes, quantum satis,
  • Processed cereal-based foods and infant and young child foods as defined in Directive 2006/125/C, E500 as growth agent only, quantum satis,
  • Other foods for young children quantum satis,
  • Dietary foods for infants, intended for special medical purposes, and special infant formulas, quantum satis, restrictions only as growth agents
  • Food additives, including support substances in food enzymes,
  • Nutrient food additives excluding nutrients intended for use in foodstuffs for infants and young children [2]
  • Sterilised and UHT creams, whipped cream and low-fat creams (E500 iii), cream,
  • Whey powder and whey products, excluding whey cheeses (E500 iii),
  • Fermented vegetables (including fungi, roots and tubers, legumes and aloe vera), products from seaweed, excluding fermented soy products, and,
  • Starch, Starch,
  • Fresh pasta, noodles and similar products-10000 mg/kg,
  • Dried pasta, noodles and similar products,
  • Fish in frozen dough, fish fillets and fish products, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms (E500 iii),
  • Frozen products of minced fish and cream, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms
  • Fish and fish products cooked and/or roasted, including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms
  • Smoked, dried, fermented and/or salted fish and fish products, other fish products including molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms, and,
  • Coffee, coffee substitutes, tea, herbal infusions and other cereal drinks, excluding cocoa products. [1]


Sodium bicarbonate E500 (ii) is found in powder or white granules. It has no smell, it tastes slightly alkaline. It has stability in dry air. At the temperature of 20°C begins to decompose into aqueous solution. It is a water-soluble substance, but is insoluble in alcohol. It has a weaker basic character compared to sodium carbonate. To be used as additives, carbonate and sodium bicarbonate must have an active substance content of 99%. [9]


Why is it necessary to use E500 additives?


Food additives E500, sodium carbonates are necessary because of the role they play in some foods, as acidity proofreaders (they have a basic character).


They are also used for being anti-caking substances and good loosening agents.


In the manufacture of confectionery or pastry it is necessary that the dough is loosened before or during baking. E500 additives, sodium carbonates are inexpensive, do not exhibit toxicity, do not give foreign taste to the product and can be obtained in very pure state.


Since they are loosening agents, they produce a large amount of carbon dioxide, which is released from the formation of dough. To control the amount of carbon dioxide released by the decomposition of the E500 additive, acidifying substances called aphanating acids, for example mono-phosphate and dicalcium, are also used, aluminum and sodium sulfate, etc. [5]


Conclusions and Legislative Regulations E500


Sodium carbonates, or E500, are food additives that can be found in a variety of foods.


They are regulated according to European legislation[6], Codex Standard 192/1995 (revised in 2019) and according to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008b.


Bibliographical references :

[1] https://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/sh-proxy/en/?lnk=1&url=https%253A%252F%252Fworkspace.fao.org%252Fsites%252Fcodex%252FStandards%252FCXS%2B192-1995%252FCXS_192e.pdf

[2] https://healthy-food-near-me.com/e500-sodium-carbonates/

[3] https://www.arctic.ro/blog/bicarbonatul-de-sodiu-o-solutie-universala/

[4] https://www.anm.ro/_/_PRO/PRO_9065_13.06.16.pdf


[5] Elena Oranescu, Aditivii alimentari-necesitate și risc, Editura SemnE, 2005, Bucuresți, pag. 261-262;

[6] https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/foods_system/main/index.cfm?event=substance.view&identifier=220

11 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_sesquicarbonate#/media/File:Sodium_sesquicarbonate.svg

12Odie5533 at engleză Wikipedia – Operă proprie, Domeniu public, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3581573

13 Sursa:https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/SodiumBicarbonate.png


[2] Regulamentul (Ce) Nr. 1333/2008 al Parlamentului European și al Consiliului din 16 decembrie 2008 privind aditivii alimentari, EUR-Lex – 32008R1333 – RO – EUR-Lex (europa.eu)

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