What’s the Uses of Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (E450iii, TSPP) in Food and Toothpaste?

Production | Specification | Uses | Safety

Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (TSPP), also called tetrasodium disphosphate or sodium pyrophosphate, is a synthetic ingredient that can be used as an acid regulator, sequestrant, protein modifier, coagulant, and a dispersing agent in food with the European food additive number E450(iii). It is gluten free and vegan.

How is TSPP made? 

TSPP can be produced by the neutralization of phosphoric acid with sodium hydroxide with mol proportions of 2:1.

Food grade TSPP exists as two forms, and follows the corresponding chemical formula: 

  1. TSPP Anhydrous: Na4P2O7
  2. TSPP Decahydrate: Na4P2O7 · 10H2O

Specification

Other names
  • Tetrasodium disphosphate
  • Tetrasodium phosphate
  • Sodium pyrophosphate
CAS number 7722-88-5
Appearance white powder or granular powder
Solubility Soluble in water, insoluble in ethanol

What are the uses of TSPP?

With the properties of chelating metal ions, increasing protein water holding capacity, PH buffering, stabilization, emulsification, casein thickening and ect, tetrasodium pyrophosphate is widely used in food to improve the gel strength and the tenderness of meat products/analogs. 

Also, it is used with other phosphates (e.g. sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate) in seafood to increase the water retention. 

Food

Food grade TSPP is mainly used in following two functions:

  • A buffering agent: with the PH value from 9.8 to 10.8 (1% solution), TSPP can be used as an alkaline to adjust pH in processed food, pudding and etc.
  • A calcium sequestrant: TSPP can remove naturally occurring calcium ions from proteins and crosslink with proteins, which results in accelerating protein gelation, improving texture (mouthfeel) and reducing cooking loss in meat analog production (e.g. soy protein). (1)

Following food list may contain TSPP:

  • Meat analogs, such as soy or wheat based food, with the appearance, flavor and mouth-feel the same with meat but not made from meat. 
  • Marshmallows
  • Pudding
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Milk protein products
  • Tuna

Toothpaste

Orally the main purpose of TSPP is to prevent the formation of calculus by reducing the deposition of calcium and magnesium on teeth. Thus it is commonly used as the anticalculus component of many tartar-control toothpastes and mouth rinse. Disodium pyrophosphate also has the same function.

The top toothpaste manufacturer, Crest also uses it as the anti-tartar ingredient in its whitening expressions. (2)

Is Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate Safe to Eat?

Yes, it almost has no side effects and the safety has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

FDA

TSPP is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used as a sequestrant in food in accordance with good manufacturing practice (3). 

EFSA

Tetrasodium pyrophosphate (E450iii) is an authorized food additive in the European Union (EU) and can be used as a carrier in the preparations of the colour anthocyanins, also applied in the following food categories with the maximum use levels from 5,000-12,000mg/kg (4):

  • Refrigerated, prepacked yeast based doughs 
  • Salted fish of the Gadidae family 
  • Biscuits and rusks

JECFA

Function Class: food additives, acidity regulator, sequestrant, emulsifier. (5)

Tolerable Intake: MTDI 70 mg/kg bw (as P) set in 1982. (6)

Conclusion

Now you may have a knowledge of the food additive – Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (E450iii), from production, uses in food and toothpaste, approved safety, and so on.

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

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