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Safety and Legal Status of Pectins

Pectin is generally regarded as an extremely safe food additive, and its composition and use is regulated under Food Additive law. It is also recognised under the international Codex Alimentarius. Some particular references are as follows:

FAO/WHO - Codex Alimentarius
Pectins have been given an acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of "not specified" by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and are listed on that basis in the Codex General Standard for Food Additives. The current Codex specification for pectins is available at the JECFA Website. The specification includes a new identity test for pectins, using a pure pectate lyase, now available from megazyme.com.

European Union
Pectin (E440 (i)) and Amidated Pectin (E440 (ii)) have both been given an ADI "not specified" by the Scientific Committee for Food. Specifications are listed in Commission Regulation (EU) 231/2012 of 9th March 2012. Pectins may be used under "quantum satis" conditions in most foods in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16th December 2008 on food additives.

As natural polymers and chemically modified natural polymers, pectins are exempt from REACH registration. (Only relevant for industrial, personal care and household applications). See also IPPA Position Paper on Pectins under the REACH Regulation.

United States
The FDA recognises pectin as GRAS (generally recognised as safe). It may be used in all non-standardised foods. The pectin specification of the Food Chemical Codex is updated on a regular basis; the effective version can be found in the current edition.

In addition, IPPA publishes its own specification for pectins produced by its members. For a safe use please respect the rules compiled in the IPPA MSDS.

To address any uncertainty regarding the application of pectin in organic food products, IPPA has issued a statement to help clarify the situation.


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