Food additive E418 is a natural polysaccharide, produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas elodea from starch, and used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, thickener, and gelling agent in food and beverage industry. E418 food additive is gellan gum which was initially identified as a substitute gelling agent at significantly lower use level to replace agar in solid culture media for the growth of various microorganisms. Gellan gum was first approved for food use in Japan (1988), later it was approved for food, non-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical uses by many other countries such as US, Canada, China, Korea and the European Union, etc.
Uses of E418 Food Additive
As a food additive, gellan gum is widely used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer. It was an integral part of the now defunct Orbitz soft drink. It is used as the gelling agent, as an alternative to gelatin, in the manufacturer of vegan varieties of gum candies. It is used in soy milks to keep the soy protein suspended in the milk. Gellan gum is listed on the ingredient statements of several popular non-dairy beverages. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program under the recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board added gellan gum (high-acyl form only) in 2010 to its National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances approved for use in organic foods and beverages, which means that gellan gum can be an ingredient in a USDA Organic- or USDA Made with Organic Ingredients-labeled food or beverage product even if the gellan gum is not USDA-certified organic.
Is E418 Food Additive Dangerous?
No adverse effects known in the concentrations used, although high concentrations bring about flatulence and bloating, due to fermentation by the intestinal microflora (in the same way as all indigestible polysaccharides). It has laxative properties.