It seems that cereals is the most commonly listed food in breakfast, but do you know what ingredients are used in cereals? You may have read the ingredients label and noticed some ingredients that do not look like they belong in the cereal we eat, and one of them is the trisodium phosphate.
Then you may have the questions about this doubtful stuff in your food.
First, what is trisodium phosphate?
Trisodium Phosphate is the inorganic compound Na3PO4, also known as TSP, trisodium orthophosphate or simply sodium phosphate. It is a white, granular or crystalline solid and mostly come in form of white powder.
Trisodium phosphate can serve as a food additive (E339) and can also be found in daily consumer products such as toothpastes, dental cleansers, shampoos, cosmetics, and bleaching agents. As a nutritional supplement, TSP can also improve performance in sports players.
Why is trisodium phosphate used in cereal?
Trisodium phosphate can act as the acidity regulator and reduce the acid nature of the food and can always be found in in dry and extruded cereals. It can also modify the cereal color and aid in the cereal’s flow through the extruder. When used with other phosphates, it can help provide phosphorus fortification. And TSP can also be used as an emulsifier in cheese.
Is trisodium phosphate in cereal safe?
Since trisodium phosphate is widely used in food industry such as fruit drinks, dairy product, canned foods, meat, kids cereals and cheese, the safety issue and side effects of STP are concerned by more and more people.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists sodium phosphates as "generally recognized as safe." The FDA allows TSP in our food and personal care products and it is not a risk in certain amounts.
The use of TSP in food is also clearly defined according to the Chinese hygienic standard. For the canned foods, juice drinks, dairy products and vegetable protein beverages, the maximum use is 0.5 grams per kilogram; for meat, the maximum quantity is 3.0 grams per kilogram; for cheese, the maximum amount is 5.0 grams per kilogram; for drinks, the maximum use is 1.5 grams per kilogram.
TSP will become alkaline when it is dissolved in water, therefore, excessive dosage in food will not only destroy the nutrients in the food but also endanger health. TSP as a food additive has not been proven to be toxic to humans, and the reasonable use of TSP in cereal is safe.