What Is Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate (E444) In Flavored Beverage?

Sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB), an ingredient derived from sugar, primarily used as an emulsifier in flavored beverages to stabilize the emulsions of flavoring oils and prevent its separation with water. The European food additive number for it is E444.

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What is sucrose acetate isobutyrate?

A mixture of esterified products commercially produced by controlled esterification of sucrose with acetic acid anhydride and isobutyric anhydride. It mainly consists of sucrose (acetate)2 (isobutyrate)6, also with a minor amount of sucrose (acetate)6 (isobutyrate)2. It belongs to the category of sugar esters.

What is it used for?

Like the function of glycerol ester of wood rosin, the purpose of sucrose acetate isobutyrate is as a weighting agent to suspend flavors and oil-based ingredients in carbonated soft drinks, flavoured beverages, energy drinks, and flavoured water. Also it can replace the uses of brominated vegetable oil in citrus-flavored beverages. 

Properties

Other Names
  • Sucrose diacetate hexaisobutyrate
  • Isobutyric acid, hexaester with sucrose diacetate
CAS Number 126-13-6
Chemical formula C40H62O19
Molecular Weight 832-856

Appearance

A pale straw-coloured viscous liquid.

Solubility 

Insoluble in water, soluble in most organic solvents.

Is sucrose acetate isobutyrate safe?

Yes, its safety used as a food additive has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), as well as other authorities.

FDA

SAIB may be safely used as a stabilizer of emulsions of flavoring oils in nonalcoholic beverages without exceeding 300 mg/kg of the finished beverage. (1

EFSA

Sucrose acetate isobutyrate (E444) is listed in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as an authorised food additive and categorized as “additives other than colours and sweeteners” (2)

Safety re-evaluation in 2016

After the study on genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, EFSA concluded in 2016 that the use of sucrose acetate isobutyrate at the permitted uses and levels would not be of safety concern. (3)

Authorised uses and levels

The following foods may contain with it and the maximum levels is 300 mg/kg (4): 

  • Flavoured cloudy drinks 

UK Food Standards Agency

Categorized in “Others” (5)

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 

It is an approved ingredient in Australia and New Zealand with the code number 444. (6)

JECFA

Function Class: food additives, density adjusting agent, cloud-producing agent. (7)

Acceptable daily intake: ADI of 20mg/kg was set in 1996. (8)

What are the possible side effects?

It is common that sometimes consumers have health concerns whether sucrose acetate isobutyrate is bad for our health and what are the possible health risks. It is generally considered safe with few reported side effects.

Frequently asked questions

Is SAIB natural? 

No, as mentioned it is produced from chemical synthesis.

Is SAIB vegan? 

Yes, it is vegan as the raw materials sucrose derived from sugar cane, acetic acid anhydride and isobutyric anhydride are obtained from chemical synthesis. So it is vegan and suitable to add in the diet of vegetarians.  

Is SAIB Halal?

Yes, it is generally recognised as halal as it is permitted under the Islamic Law and fulfill the conditions of Halal. And we can find some manufacturers certificated with MUI halal.

Is SAIB Kosher?

Yes, it is kosher pareve. E444 has met all the “kashruth” requirements and can be certified as kosher. 

Is SAIB gluten free? 

Yes, it is gluten-free as the manufacturing process complies with the FDA’s definition of gluten free, that it does not contain wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains.

Is SAIB sugar?

No, SAIB is a sugar derivative instead of sugar and it does not have a sweet taste.

Is SAIB an artificial sweetener?

No, but it can be used together with artificial sweeteners (like aspartame, sucralose) in soda.

Is sucrose acetate isobutyrate raise insulin levels?

No, although SAIB is metabolized to sucrose and partially acylated sucrose, it will not raise the blood glucose level. And in the conclusion from EFSA in its safety re-evaluation in 2016, that with the dosage of 90, 270 or 900 mg/kg bw per day for 90 days, there was almost no observation of blood glucose rising. So it will not influence insulin and is safe for diabetics.

Why natural flavour, carbonated water and sucrose acetate isobutyrate are in fanta pineapple?

Here is a sample of the use of SAIB in Coca cola fanta pineapple. SAIB functions as an emulsifier to distribute and suspend the natural flavor in carbonated water.

Conclusion

Now you may have a good knowledge of the food additive – sucrose acetate isobutyrate (E444), from its production, uses, approved safety, possible side effects and some FAQs.

What kinds of food packaging have you found this ingredient in? Let me know in the comments.

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