Well known for their versatility, phosphates are commonly used in the global food industry. Ever since their discovery over a century ago, they have been a key component in baking powders.
Although added to a variety of consumer goods such as food, beverages and cleaning products, use of phosphates can have wider repercussions. In recent decades phosphates have been banned in laundry detergents across the US and EU due to the environmental damage caused by laundry water reaching the water supply. Historical studies have also linked the use of phosphates in food additives with a worrying number of health issues, such as problems with cardiovascular health and kidney function. So much so that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is currently re-evaluating their use as part of its additive safety evaluation programme. With increasing pressure on businesses to operate more ethically, food manufacturers must question whether the damaging effects of phosphates are worth it – not only for their own reputation but also with regard to environmental sustainability.
Traditionally there has been no way to remove phosphates from leavening agents, due to the reliance on their functionality. New developments at Kudos, which are due to launch in 2019, show it is in fact possible to deliver nutritionally balanced, phosphate free products. Watch this space for phosphate free leavening!