Have you ever noticed how readily cake mixes , flour, sugar and even salt absorb water and oils and clump together in no time?
This process of lump formation is known as “caking” in the food industry. As it affects the binding capacity of food, this process of caking is not a desirable change. So, to prevent lump formation during food production and processing, anti-caking agents are used. An anticaking agent is a food additive that is used either in powdered or granulated foods ingredients like table salt or confectioneries to prevent the formation of lumps (caking). One such popular anti-caking agent is Anticaking Agent Silica (INS 551). Want to know further about it?
Anticaking Agent Silica (INS 551), is widely used as a food additive in the form of an anticaking agent. The main purpose of using an anti-caking agent in powdered or granulated materials is to prevent the formation of lumps. This helps in easing packaging, transport, and consumption. Anticaking Agent Silica (INS 551) is derived from naturally occurring quartz, which is one of the most abundant minerals in the earth’s crust. It is available as white, fluffy powdery substance that is produced through a wet process, yielding silica or silica gel. It is widely used in organic foods as a gel or colloidal solution and in herbs and spices in powder form. It is also used in the production of foods like shredded cheese, dried eggs, powdered mixes and spices, and in the filtration of beer.
Are they safe?
Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signaled the use of anti-caking agents used in foods and beverages. However, for each of the anticaking agents, the FDA first reviews the data. Once approved, that ingredient is then deemed safe and given the status officially known as “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or “GRAS” certification, which means it is certified and managed by the FDA.
So the next time that you check on the label of a food, you know what you might look for to make a safe choice
Long term inhalation of silica dust may lead to issues in the lungs like silicosis (a irreversible lung disease), lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increased risk of tuberculosis. Also, long-term exposure to silica may affect the kidney and increase the risk of autoimmune diseases.(1)
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