Is Gellan Gum Safe to use in Food FTN Highlight 091121
Audio – Guess who discovered it and holds the patent on it? Have a listen.
From the show: Things That Make You Go HMMMM. Is Gellan Gum Safe to use in Food FTN Highlight 091121
Gellan gum is used to texturize, stabilize and suspend different types of food and drink. Tune the package around and read the label. So what is this stuff called GELLAN GUM and why is it in so many foods? And while we’re asking questions, who owns the patent on GELLAN GUM anyway?
Spoiler Alert! You’ve not gonna like the answers!
UPDATE; According to the European Food Safety Authority
(Paraphrasing) While the re-evaluation of Gellan Gun would be considered Generally Regarded as Safe (by U.S. standards), there were some notable items missing from the data and some recommendations for greater transparency, notably:
“The Panel recommended the European Commission to consider: (emphasis added)
- changing in the definition of the European Commission specifications the chemical names of the acyl groups ‘glyceryl’ and ‘acetyl’ to ‘glycerate’ and ‘acetate’;
- indicating in the definition of the European Commission specifications that only the non-genetically modified strain ATCC 31461 should be used for the production of gellan gum
- establishing specifications for the individual types of gellan gum with respect to acylation and clarification;
- including specifications for the absence of viable cells of the microbial source;
- defining purity in the specifications including the presence of PHB and residual bacterial enzymatic activities;
- revising the current limits for the toxic elements lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic in the European Commission specification for gellan gum (E 418) in order to ensure that gellan gum (E 418) as a food additive will not be a significant source of exposure to these toxic elements in food.”
The bottom line
In summary, Gellan Gum can be GMO and is not labeled as such, the microbial source did not contain specs or viable cells for evaluation, PHB is a microorganism used to process plastics but is also used to refine Gellan Gum (which is a bacteria). Lastly, Gellan Gum can also contain toxic metals. So much so, limits had to be set for the allowable amount of toxic metals. A lot of the Gellan Gum used in foods is processed in China.
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