Anti-caking (anti-caking) substances are anhydrous compounds that are used in the food industry to prevent individual food particles from sticking together as much. They are added in small amounts to dry foods to prevent particles from caking and to keep the product dry and loose . Silicon dioxide and various silicates are most commonly used.
Anti-caking agents work by absorbing excess moisture or coating particles to make them more water-repellent . Some anti-caking substances are soluble in water, others are soluble in alcohols or other organic solvents.
Food manufacturers often add anti-caking agents at some stage of the production process to optimize production . Less clumping and moisture absorption means lower food costs .
In addition to the food industry, they are also used in the production of cosmetics and detergents .
What anti-caking substances can we encounter in the food industry?
What is E542 - Edible phosphate?Category: Anti-caking agents, Emulsifiers
What is E504 - Magnesium carbonate?Category: Acidity regulators, Anti-caking agents, Carriers, Fillers, Stabilizers
What is E341 - calcium phosphates?Category: Acidity regulators, Anti-caking agents, Fillers, Flour improving agents, Humectants, Thickeners
What is E 460 - Cellulose (a.)?Category: Anti-caking agents
What is E572 - Magnesium stearate?Category: Anti-caking agents, Defoamers, Emulsifiers, Stabilizers, Thickeners
What is E170 - Calcium carbonate?Category: Acidity regulators, Anti-caking agents, Fillers, Stabilizers
Natural vs. synthetic anti-caking agents
Anti-caking agents can come from natural sources or they can be made from chemical or artificial additives.
Most anti-caking agents are made from synthetic substances (eg silicon dioxide or magnesium and calcium stearate). However, there are many anti-caking agents that come from natural sources . Some of the natural anti-caking agents include kaolin and bentonite. Some manufacturers of anti-caking agents also produce organic and hypoallergenic anti-caking agents, for example from rice.
In which foods can we find anti-caking agents?
- sliced and grated cheeses
- instant soups
- milk powder
- icing sugar
- cake mix
- baking powder
- meat products
- chewing gums
Anti-caking agents are most often found in salt , for example. When we buy salt, we automatically expect it to fall beautifully out of the box or bag. This is thanks to sodium aluminosilicate. Can you imagine having to take the salt out of the block every time you need to use it for cooking? The salt crystals are coated with an anti-caking agent that keeps the particles separated from each other . If you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant where they put rice in brine, they use a very practical form of anti-caking agent.
Is the consumption of anti-caking agents in food safe for us?
These substances are commonly used in the food industry, but have recently become the subject of debate due to possible health risks . Some studies indicate that anti-caking agents can have a negative effect on human health. For example, silicones have been linked to an increased risk of certain diseases such as cancer and reproductive problems.
Another problem is the aluminum used in anti-caking agents. In healthy individuals, however, only 0.3% of orally ingested aluminum is absorbed in the digestive tract. It should be noted that ingested aluminum is a cause for concern in individuals with impaired renal function. Improper excretion of aluminum can lead to deposits in the brain, bones, liver, heart, spleen and muscles. In addition, aluminum absorbed intravenously has the potential to remain in the body. Excess aluminum is associated with neurological conditions, certain types of anemia, kidney failure, and softening of the bones .
However, most studies indicate that in low doses these substances are safe for healthy people . The food industry must adhere to strict limits on the use of these substances and must guarantee that they are used in safe doses.
Are there any alternatives to anti-caking agents?
Alternatives to anti-caking agents in some markets include rice husk powder and cornstarch.
Also read our detailed article on rice . Does he know that there are more than 120,000 varieties of rice in the world? Which one is used for risotto and which one is used for sushi? You will learn all this and much more with us!