Could phosphates be the next dirty word?

‘Estimated total intake of phosphates from food may exceed the safe level set by EFSA after re-evaluating their safety’.

Scientists at The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) compiled exposure and toxicity data to re-evaluate the safety of phosphates as food additives. Taking into account all sources of dietary phosphates, (the medium of delivery for phosphorus), the panel determined an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of phosphorus of 40mg/kg of body weight. So for someone weighing 70kg, this would correspond to an intake of 2.8g per day

Experts estimated that up to 30% of the intake of phosphorus comes from food additives. This includes bakery phosphates such as monocalcium phosphate E341, disodium diphosphate E450(i) as well as relatively new leavening agents such as calcium diphosphate E450(vii). Food phosphates are also used extensively in the processing of meats and cheese and currently allowed ‘quantum satis’. (Click here for the further information https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/190612)

Phosphates are a non-renewable resource that is almost exclusively used for fertiliser production. Around about 260 million tonnes of phosphate rock is mined per annum. Scientists report that global phosphate production will peak in 2030, which isn’t that long to go. Worse though is the suggestion in several reports that global reserves will be depleted in 50-100 years.

The specialist bakery phosphate consumption accounts for only circa. 0.04% of annual phosphate rock usage and therefore is absolutely swamped by the increasing demand for phosphates in fertilisers. This demand means that food phosphate producers are in no position to influence pricing.

With focus on health risks from over consumption, coupled with a non-renewable source phosphates are very much going to be in the spotlight in years to come.

Finding alternatives for bakery leavening has been a focus for the Kudos technical team in the past few years. We can now confidently say we have some technologically brilliant alternatives including the possibility of either minimising or eliminating the use of phosphates and we are on the cusp of a full blown launch!

Watch this space for more information, but click here for a taster of what’s to come!