About the Author
Ruth Winter, M.S., is an award-winning science writer who is nationally known for her many books and magazine articles in Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and Reader’s Digest. She is also the author of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Medicines: Prescription, Over-the-Counter, Homeopathic, and Herbal, and Poisons in Your Food.
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ABEYANCE * The term used by the FDA that includes petitions that were filed and were found after detailed review by the Office of Food Additives (OFAS) to be deficient. The OFAS does not actively work on petitions in abeyance. When all the information required to address the deficiency or deficiencies is provided, a petition can be refiled with the FDA and assigned a new filing date.
ABIES ALBA MILL * See Pine Needle Oil.
ABIETIC ACID * Sylvic Acid. Chiefly a texturizer in the making of soaps. A widely available natural acid, water insoluble, prepared from pine rosin, usually yellow and composed of either glassy or crystalline particles. Employed to carry nutrients that are added to enriched rice in amounts up to .0026 percent of the weight of the nutrient mixture. Used also in the manufacture of vinyls, lacquers, and plastics. Little is known about abietic acid toxicity; it is harmless when injected into mice but causes paralysis in frogs and is slightly irritating to human skin and mucous membranes. May cause allergic reactions.
ABSINTHIUM * Extract or Oil. See Wormwood.
ABSOLUTE * The term refers to a plant-extracted material that has been concentrated but that remains essentially unchanged in its original taste and odor. Often called "natural perfume materials" because they are not subjected to heat and water as are distilled products. See Distilled.
AC * Abbreviation for Anticaking Agent.
ACACIA * Acacia vera. Acacia senegal. Gum Arabic. Egyptian Thorn. Catechu (from the Latin Acacia catechu, which is interchangeable with acacia). Acacia is the odorless, colorless, tasteless dried exudate from the trunk of the acacia tree grown in Africa, the Near East, India, and the southern United States. Its most distinguishing quality among the natural gums is its ability to dissolve rapidly in water. The use of acacia dates back four thousand years to when the Egyptians employed it in paints. Its principal use in the confectionery industry is to retard sugar crystallization and as a thickener for candies, jellies, glazes, and chewing gum. As a stabilizer, it prevents chemical breakdown in food mixtures. Gum acacia is a foam stabilizer in the soft drink and brewing industries. Other uses are for mucilage, and the gum gives form and shape to tablets. In 1976, the FDA placed acacia in the GRAS category as an emulsifier, flavoring additive, processing aid, and stabilizer in beverages at 2.0 percent, chewing gum at 5.6 percent; as a formulation aid, stabilizer, and humectant in confections and frostings at 12.4 percent; as a humectant stabilizer and formulation aid in hard candy at 46.5 percent; in soft candy at 85 percent; in nut formulations at 1.0 percent; and in all other food categories at 8.3 percent of the product. Medically, it is used as a demulcent to soothe irritations, particularly of the mucous membranes. It slightly reduces cholesterol in the blood. It can cause allergic reactions such as skin rash and asthmatic attacks. Oral toxicity is low. See also Vegetable Gums and Catechu Extract. GRAS. ASP. E
ACCEPTABLE DAILY INTAKE (ADI) * An estimate of the amount of a food additive, expressed on a body-weight basis, that can be ingested daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk, according to the World Health Organization (1987).
ACE K * See Acesulfame Potassium.
ACENAPHTHENE * 1,2-Dihydroacenaphthylene. 1,8-Ethylenenaphthalene. Derived from coal tar, it is used as a dye intermediate in pharmaceuticals, insecticides, fungicides, and plastics. No absorption data are available for acenaphthene; however, by analogy to structurally related polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), it would be expected to be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and lungs. The anhydride of naphthalic acid was identified as a urinary metabolite in rats treated orally with acenaphthene. Although a large body of literature exists on the toxicity and carcinogenicity of (PAHs), primarily benzo[a]pyrene, toxicity data for acenaphthene are very limited. See coal tar.
ACEPHATE (0-S-DIMETHYL ACETYLPHOSPHERAMIDOTHIOATE and 0-S-DIMETHYL PHOSPHORAMIDO THIOATE) * A contact and systemic pesticide used on cottonseed meal resulting from application to growing crops. The FDA permits a tolerance of 8 ppm in cottonseed and
4 ppm in soybean meal resulting from application to growing crops.
ACER SPICATUM LAM * See Mountain Maple Extract.
ACEROLA * Used as an antioxidant. Derived from the ripe fruit of the West Indian or Barbados cherry grown in Central America and the West Indies. A rich source of ascorbic acid. Used in vitamin C.
ACESULFAME POTASSIUM * Acesulfame K. Sunette. Ace K. In a petition filed in September 1982, the American Hoechst Corporation asked for approval to make this nonnutritive sweetener two hundred times sweeter than table sugar for use in chewing gum, dry beverage mixes, confections, canned fruit, gelatins, puddings, custards, and as a tabletop sweetener. The petition, including fifteen volumes of research studies, said the sweetener is not metabolized and would not add calories to the diet. The FDA approved acesulfame K on July 27, 1988, for use in dry food products and for sale in powder form or tablets that can be applied directly by the consumer. It has about the same sweetening power as aspartame (see), but unlike aspartame, has no calories. Hoechst obtained approval to use acesulfame K as an ingredient in liquids and baked goods and candies. The sweetener had previously been approved for use in twenty countries including France and Britain. Pepsi and Coca-Cola use it in Europe and Canada in their diet drinks. The Food and Drug Administration said that four long-term animal studies in dogs, mice, and rats had not shown any toxic effects that could be pinned on the sweetener. However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer group, sent a warning to the FDA more than six months before the sweetener's approval saying that animals fed acesulfame K in two different studies suffered more tumors than others that did not receive the compound. In another study cited by CSPI, diabetic rats had a higher blood level of cholesterol when fed the sweetener. The FDA said in a press release that it had considered the Center's concerns and concluded that "any tumors found were typical of what could routinely be expected and were not due to feeding with acesulfame K." Hoechst said that acesulfame is not metabolized by the body and is excreted unchanged by humans and animals. When heated to decomposition emits toxic fumes. ASP. E
ACETAL * A volatile liquid derived from acetaldehyde (see) and alcohol. Used in fruit flavorings (it has a nutlike aftertaste) and as a hypnotic in medicine. It is a central nervous system depressant, similar in action to paraldehyde but more toxic. Paraldehyde is a hypnotic and sedative whose side effects are respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, and possible high blood pressure reactions. No known skin toxicity. ASP
ACETALDEHYDE * Ethanal. Occurs naturally in apples, broccoli, cheese, coffee, grapefruit, and other vegetables and fruit. Used as a solvent. It is irritating to the mucous membranes. Its ability to depress the central nervous system is greater than that of formaldehyde (see), and ingestion produces symptoms of "drunkenness." Acetaldehyde is thought to be a factor in the toxic effect caused by drinking alcohol after taking the antialcohol drug Antabuse. Inhalation usually limited by intense irritation of lungs. Ingestion of large doses may cause death by respiratory paralysis. Skin toxicity not identified. GRAS. ASP
ACETALDEHYDE DIISOAMYL ACETYAL * Flavoring. Labeled GRAS by the Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association in 2003.
ACETALDEHYDE ETHYL CIS-3-HEXENYL ACETAL * A synthetic flavoring. The FDA has as of this writing not yet done a thorough toxicology search. See Acetaldehyde.
ACETALDEHYDE PHENETHYL PROPYL ACETAL * Petital. A synthetic fruit flavoring additive for beverages, ice cream, ices, candy, and baked goods. See Acetaldehyde for toxicity. ASP
p-ACETAMIDOBENZOIC ACID * See Benzoic Acid.
ACETANISOLE * A synthetic flavoring additive, colorless to pale yellow solid, with an odor of hawthorn or hay, moderately soluble in alcohol and most fixed oils. Acetanisole is used in butter, caramel, chocolate, fruit, nut, and vanilla flavorings, which go into beverages, ice cream, ices, candy, baked goods, and chewing gum.
ACETATE * Salt of acetic acid (see) used in liquor, nut, coffee, vanilla, honey, pineapple, and cheese flavorings for beverages, ice cream, sherbets, cakes, cookies, pastries, and candy. May be irritating to the stomach if consumed in large quantities.
ACETIC ACID * Occurs naturally in apples, cheese, cocoa, coffee, grapes, skimmed milk, oranges, peaches, pineapples, strawberries, and a variety of other fruits and plants. Vinegar is about 4 to 6 percent acetic acid and essence of vinegar is about 14 percent. It is used in cheese, baked goods, and animal feeds. Solvent for gums, resins, and volatile oils. Styptic, it stops bleeding when applied to a cut on the skin. Potential adverse skin reactions include irritation or itching, hives, and overgrowth of organisms that do not respond to germ-killers. In its glacial form (without much water) it is highly corrosive and its vapors are capable of producing lung obstruction. Less than 5 percent acetic acid in solution is mildly irritating to the skin. It caused cancer in rats and mice when given orally or by injection. GRAS. ASP. E
ACETIC ACID, CITRONELLYL ESTER * A flavoring additive found in oils of citronella geranium, and about twenty other oils. Colorless liquid; fruity odor. Used as a flavoring additive in mayonnaise, salad dressings, and sauces. Mildly toxic by ingestion. A human skin irritant.
ACETIC ANHYDRIDE * Acetyl Oxide. Acetic Oxide. Colorless liquid with a strong odor, it is derived from oxidation of acetaldehyde (see). It is used as a dehydrating and acetyla...