Food has various ingredients including food additives and some of them might not blend well with another. If all the ingredients of food do not blend well together to make a composite whole then the appearance of the food does not appeal. Normally water and oil do not blend well together so to ensure that prepared food looks pleasing emulsifying agents or stabilisers are used. Emulsifiers are therefore substances that are soluble both in water as well as fat. This enables the fat to be evenly dispersed even in water. Foods that have emulsifying agents are butter, margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and ice cream. Emulsifying agents are also used in baking so that the fat can be incorporated into the dough.
Milk, honey, mustard and egg are some natural emulsifiers that have been used in food preparations for centuries. Egg yolk has an emulsifying agent lecithin and so does soya. Other natural emulsifiers are proteins and phospholipids. Other emulsifying agents used in foods include agar, albumin, alginates, casein, glycerol monostearate, gums, Irish moss, lecithin, soaps.
Uses of emulsifiers in food
Emulsifiers are used to keep together the oil and water content in foods or they will remain separate and food will look unappealing. Emulsifiers also add quality and certain freshness to food. Natural emulsifiers can prevent the growth of moulds in food. Emulsifiers are used in sauces, creams, dairy and bakery products. They can be natural or chemical substances. Food products like biscuits, bread, cakes, toffees, caramels, soft drinks, frozen desserts, margarine, butter, coffee whitener and also extruded snacks have emulsifiers.
FSSAI standards for emulsifiers
Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 describe “emulsifying agents” and “stabilising agents” as “substances which when added to food, are capable of facilitating a uniform dispersion of oils and fats in aqueous media or vice versa, and/or stabilising such emulsions and include the agents specified.”
The names of the emulsifying and stabilising agents in regulations
Agar, alginic acid, calcium and sodium alginates, carrageen, edible gums (such as guar, karaya, arabic, carobean, furcellaran, tragacanth, gum ghatti), dextrin, sorbitol, pectin, sodium and calcium pectate, sodium citrate, sodium phosphates, sodium tartrate, calcium lactate, lecithin, albumen, gelatin, quillaia, modified starches, hydrolysed proteins, monoglycerides or diglycerides of fatty acids, synthetic lecithin, propyleneglycol stearate, propylenegelycol alginate, methyl ethyl cellulose, methyl cellulose, sodium carboxy-methyl cellulose, stearyl tartaric acid, esters of monoglycerides and diglycerides of fatty acids monostearin sodium sulphoacetate, sorbitan esters of fatty acids or in combination [poly-oxy-ethylene sorbitan, monostearate] sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate and calcium stearoyl-2- lactylate Polyglycerol Esters of fatty acids and polyglycerol Ester of interesterified Ricinoleic acid and Glycerol esters of wood rosins (Ester Gum)
According to FSSAI regulations there is also a restriction on the use of emulsifying and stabilizing agents.
- Emulsifying or stabilising cannot be used in foods unless the emulsifying or stabilising agent is specifically permitted
- Some emulsifying or stabilising agents are not permitted to be used in milk and cream and these are as follows : Monoglycerides or diglycerides of fatty acids, synthetic lecithin, propyl-eneglycol stearate, propyleneglycol alginate, methyl ethyl cellulose, methylcellulose, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, stearyl tartaric acid, esters of monoglycerides and diglycerides of fatty acids, monostearin sodium sulphoacetate, sorbitan esters of fatty acids or in combination
Emulsifiers permitted for use in various foods by FSSAI
- Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids and Polyglycerol ester of interesterified Ricinoleic acid are permitted for use in bakery and chocolate products but only at 0.2 per cent by weight.
- Diacetyl Tartaric acid esters of Mono and Diglycerides may be used in bread and cakes
- Starch phosphate, a gum arabic substitute, may be used in syrup, ice-cream powder, salad dressing and pudding to a maximum extent of 0.5 per cent.
- Modified food starches (derivative starches) may be used in confectionery, flavours, dairy products (where use of emulsifier/stabiliser is allowed per regulations) glazes, icings, gravies, sauces, soups, coatings up to a maximum concentration of 0.5 per cent by weight.
- Modified food starches (derivative starches) may be used in snacks, frozen potato products, baked foods, and salad dressing/mayonnaise, up to a maximum concentration of 5 per cent by weight.
- The emulsifying and stabilising agents may be added to flavouring agents.
- Emulsifying and stabilising agents that are permitted to be added to Fruit Products are
b) Sodium alginate
c) Calcium alginate
d) Alginic acid
e) Propylene glycol alginate
- Emulsifying and stabilizing agents as defined under “the names of the emulsifying and stabilising agents” may be added to frozen desserts
- Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose may be used in the following food products, not exceeding the maximum levels as permitted in the table below
Article of food
|1.||Non – dairy whip topping||
|2.||Snacks, savouries, luncheon meat and poultry products, instant mixes such as idli mix, dosa mix, upma mix, pongal mix, puliyogore mix, gulab jamun mix, jalebi mix, vada mix, etc. salad dressing/mayonnaise, mixes for gravies, ice cream, frozen desserts, puddings
|3.||Mixes for dairy based drinks||
- Xanthan gum may be used in the following products
Non- dairy whip toppings maximum – 0.5% by weight
Bakery mixes maximum – 0.5% by weight
- Acid treated starch may be used in sugar confectionery on GMP basis