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Food additive E501 (carbonate and potassium bicarbonate) — use; health effects

Food additive E501 (carbonate and potassium bicarbonate) — the benefits and harm

Characteristics of the food additive E501 (potassium carbonate)

Food supplement number E501 beneath it unites two related compounds of potassium carbonate:

  • potassium carbonate directly,
  • and potassium bicarbonate.

You can learn about these substances used in food production from the table, which follows.

(i) Potassium carbonate

anhydrous potassium carbonate looks like a hygroscopic white powder, it is odorless, and its taste is alkaline;

hydrated potassium carbonate looks like small translucent granules or white crystals

anhydrous potassium carbonate: K2CO3;

Hydrated potassium carbonate: K2CO3· 1,5H2O

Permission to use in food production

is allowed

The additive is used as stabilizer, baking powder, acidity regulator, dehydrator, food for yeast, emulsifier

Food, for the manufacture of which is used

used in products based on cocoa powder, milk powder; used in chocolate; this emulsifier is also added to pressed baker’s yeast

use the additive also in the production of liquid soap, optical glass, as well as various pigments

potassium carbonate; potassium carbonate; wild carbonate; dipotassium carbonate; potash; potassium salt of carbonic acid

(ii) Potassium bicarbonate

potassium bicarbonate may look like granules or white powder, while the powder and granules do not have a smell; this substance may also look like crystal clear

Permission to use in food production

is allowed

potassium bicarbonate is used as a stabilizer, acidity regulator, baking powder

Food, for the manufacture of which is used

use food additive E501 in the production of powdered and condensed milk, powdered and condensed cream, products using cocoa powder, jelly, marmalade, jam, chocolate

also use potassium bicarbonate for the production of fire extinguishing compositions, as well as detergents

potassium bicarbonate; potassium bicarbonate; potassium acid carbonic; potassium bicarbonate, potassium hydrogen carbonate; potassium salt of carbonic acid; potassium acid carbonat

Food supplement, which is so widely used in the preparation of certain foods and detergents, has been known to man for a very long time. In ancient Rome, for example, potassium carbonate was used as laundry detergent, as its alkaline base helped to perfectly clean various dirt and grease stains from clothes. This substance was also known in Russia. Used it also as a detergent. Potassium carbonate was obtained by evaporation of the fire with a solution of ash. To do this, the solution was prepared in advance and watered burning logs with it, but only so that they did not go out completely. When the fire burned out at the bottom of the hearth in which it burned, potash crystallized, another name for which is potassium carbonate. Pieces of potash were chipped off and placed in barrels for storage.

Influence of food additives E501 in the composition of foodstuffs cannot be called harmful or dangerous.. Hygienic norms of the norm and excess consumption relative to potassium carbonates are not limited. However, the harm additive can bring in its pure form. Getting on the skin or mucous membranes, it can cause serious burns and ulceration. The entry of potassium carbonates into the respiratory tract provokes the development of allergies, and in addition they can provoke an exacerbation of chronic diseases of the respiratory organs.

Caution should be attributed to the food additive E501 should be allergic, as it can provoke allergic reactions and the appearance of eczema.

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