Magnesium Phosphates E343

  • What are magnesium phosphates E343?

Magnesium phosphates E343 (I, II) are food additives acting as acidity regulators, sechestred, stabilizng agents  with acidity correction roles, sequestered, stabilizing agents (water retention and thickening) and leavening agents. They serve as buffers, neutralizers, and are organic nature antioxidants.

  • In what forms do magnesium phosphates present themselves?

Magnesium phosphates present in two forms:

  • E 343 (I) MONOMAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE synonyms: Dibasic magnesium phosphate; Monobasic magnesium phosphate; Monomagnesium orthophosphate; Chemical name: Monomagnesium dihydrogen orthophosphate

Chemical formula Mg(H2PO4)2 * nH2O (where n = 0-4).

Molecular weight 218.30 g/mol (anhydrous).

Composition: Must not be less than 51.0% after calcination calculated as P2O5 relative to the calcined substance (800 °C ± 25 °C for 30 minutes). Description: White crystalline powder, odorless, slightly soluble in water but soluble in acetic acid.

  • E 343 (II) DIMAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE synonyms: Acid magnesium phosphate; Dibasic magnesium phosphate; Orthophosphate dimagnesium; Secondary magnesium phosphate

Chemical name: Monomagnesium monohydrogen phosphate

Chemical formula MgHPO4 · nH2O (where n = 0-3)

Molecular weight 120,30 g/mol (anhydrous).

Composition: Must not be less than 96 % after calcination (800 °C ± 25 °C for 30 minutes). Description: White crystalline powder, odorless, slightly soluble in water and ethanol but soluble in acids.[1]

  • What are the foods which contain additives E343 (I, II)? The maximum permitted limits for use.

Additives E 343 (I) and (II) are added to various food products, either alone or in combination with E339 (I, II, III), E451, E341 (I, II, III), and E452. Mono and dimagnesium orthophosphates are added to the following food products:


The name of the additive Products in which they can be used Maximum permitted dose
Magnesium phosphates Fine bakery products 20 g/kg
(i)   Monomagnesium phosphate Flour 2,5 g/kg
(ii)  Dimagnesium phosphate Self-raising flour 20 g/kg
Bread with baking soda 20 g/kg
Liquid egg (egg white, yolk or whole egg) 10 g/kg[2]
Magnesium phosphates

(i)   Monomagnesium phosphate

(ii)  Dimagnesium phosphate


In milk which is sterilized and prepared through the UHT procedure 1g/l


In partially dehydrated milk cu un conținut de s.u. sub 28% s 1,5 g/l
In powdered milk and skimmed milk 2,5 g/kg In pasteurized and UHT sterilized cream 5g/kg


In cultured cream butter; in cream and similar products made from vegetable fats; in fresh cheese (excluding Mozarella) 2g/kg
In melted cheese and similar products 20g/kg
Sweet and confectionery products, such as in dessert powder mixes 7g/kg
In desserts, in glazes as syrups for pancakes, flavored syrups for ice cream, in confectionery products 3g/kg
In icing sugar 10g/kg
In fruit dishes and candied fruits 800mg/kg
In chewing gum „qs
In various vegetable products, such as in processed potatoes (including processed, refrigerated, frozen, dehydrated products). 5g/kg In fatty fish or meat products; in spreadable fatty substances (excluding butter) and in unprocessed, refrigerated, or frozen fish fillets.

In unprocessed mollusks and crustaceans, refrigerated, frozen; in fish and crustacean paste.

In canned crustacean products 1g/kg
In meat products 5g/kg
In the casings for meat and vegetable products 4g/kg
They can also be added to sauces, soups and broth 3g/kg
In dietary supplements „qs” In coffee-based drinks for vending machines 2g/kg
In liquid egg 10g/kg


In flavoured non-alcohoolic drinks 700g/kg
In energy drinks and bottled water 0,5g/kg
In pear cider and spirit, in chocolate and malt-based milk drinks 2g/kg
In plant-based protein drinks. 20g/kg[3]
In food additives, other than carrier substances, in food additives: preparations from the coloring agent E 163 anthocyanins. 40 000 mg/kg individual or combined in the product (expressed as P2O5)[4]


  • The necessity of using additives E343

The use of magnesium orthophosphates is based on:

  • Their chelating properties on heavy metal ions (Cu, Fe),
  • Their ability to solubilize proteins,
  • Their emulsifying and stabilizing capacity in the production of processed cheeses,
  • Their buffering capacity, as well as for stabilizing breakfast cereal products. They are also used as stabilizers in liquid eggs.

These additives are employed for treating flour in the baking industry due to their antioxidant action and leavening agents. They are also used as antioxidants to prevent the development of rancid taste and odor in confectionery and pastry products.

They play a significant role in stabilizing edible fats and oils, as well as in fatty spreadable products and in fatty fish and meat products, where they also have the ability to chelate heavy metal ions.


  • Are there any side effects following the consumption of the food additive E343?

The group of researchers that proposed the “Reassessment of phosphoric acid – phosphates – di-, tri-, and polyphosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452) as food additives and their safety of use” has concluded that from the available data, it is clear that none of the phosphates is genotoxic in vitro or in vivo, and they are not carcinogenic. In addition, they do not present any risk of reproductive or developmental toxicity.

The only significant adverse effects of phosphates observed in animal studies were nephrocalcinosis and tubulointerstitial nephropathy. Although animal studies reported that high phosphorus intake leads to bone resorption or decreased bone formation, the research group considered that the effects observed on bone metabolism and mineralization in animals are not well-characterized enough to deduce an association with high dietary phosphate intake.

Clinical data indicated that in humans, under conditions of chronic exposure, adverse effects on the kidneys have been reported at phosphate doses three times lower than those causing renal adverse effects in animals.

JECFA (the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives), an international scientific expert group, established a “maximum tolerable daily intake” (MTDI) of 70 mg/kg body weight per day (expressed as phosphorus) for both naturally occurring phosphates and polyphosphates in food as well as those ingested as food additives. The MTDI was set based on the fact that “the lowest level of phosphate that produced nephrocalcinosis in rats (1% P in the diet) is used as the basis for assessment”. [5]


  • What are food additives?


“Food additive” means any substance that is not normally consumed as a food in itself and is not used as a characteristic food ingredient, with or without nutritional value. Its deliberate addition for technological purposes during the manufacturing, processing, preparation, treatment, packaging, transport, or storage of food results in or can reasonably be expected to result in its transformation or the transformation of its by-products, directly or indirectly, into a component of the food products in question.

Food additives must be safe when used, there must be a technological need for their use, they must not mislead the consumer, and their use must benefit the consumer. Misleading consumers includes aspects related to the nature, freshness, quality of the ingredients used, the extent to which a product or production process is natural, or the nutritional quality of the product, including the content of fruits and vegetables, among others.

The use and maximum levels of food additives should take into account the consumption of this food additive from other sources and the exposure of special consumer groups (such as allergic individuals) to the food additive. [6]


  • Conclusions and Legislative Regulations E343

Magnesium phosphates are regulated at the European level by Regulation (EU) No. 1129/2011[7] and at the National level by a norm[8] (12 July 2002) regarding food additives intended for use in food products for human consumption, where maximum limits are established for each category of food product, indicating where they can be used.


Phosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452) are authorized for 108 different uses (corresponding to 65 different food categories) in accordance with Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008, and data have been received for the majority of uses in which food additives are authorized to be added.

Phosphates are food additives permitted in the European Union (EU) in accordance with Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 on food additives. According to the regulation, the total minimum and maximum levels of phosphorus for infant formulas are set at 25 and 90 mg/100 kcal, while for soy-based infant formulas, the maximum level is 100 mg/100 kcal. The minimum and maximum levels for special medical purpose infant foods are set at 25 and 100 mg/100 kcal (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/127 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/128, as well as Commission Directive 2006/141/EC and Commission Directive 1999/21/EC).5


[1]  Regulation (EU) No. 231/2012 of the European Commission of March 9, 2012, establishing specifications for food additives listed in Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1).

[2] Directive 98/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of October 15, 1998, amending Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colors and sweeteners.

[3] Elena Olanescu, Food Additives – Necessity and Risk, SemnE Publishing, 2005, Bucharest, pages 169-170.

[4] Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 16, 2008, on food additives.

[5] Re-evaluation of phosphoric acid–phosphates – di-, tri- and polyphosphates (E 338–341, E 343, E 450–452) as food additives and the safety of proposed extension of use.

[6] Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 16, 2008, on food additives.

[7] Regulation (EU) No. 1129/2011 of the Commission of November 11, 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.

[8] Standard dated July 12, 2002, on food additives intended for use in food products for human consumption, published in the Official Gazette No. 722 bis on October 3, 2002.


Translated from Romanian by: Andra Nițu

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