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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Anti caking agents

Usually I am ambivalent about chemical additives thinking that if so many people are having them without any side effects, I dont have to break my head about it. Afterall its not everyday that we have chips etc...
Anyways today I was fed up and asked my hubby to buy a big packet of name brand potato chips. I casually going through the list of ingredients Ok no big words only one - anticaking agent E535. Well I went to Google and this was the result:

An anticaking agent is an additive placed in powdered or granulated materials, such as table salt, to prevent the formation of lumps and for easing packaging, transport, and consumption.

I quote
"Sodium ferrocyanide is the sodium salt of the coordination compound of formula [Fe(CN)6]4-. It is a yellow crystalline solid that is soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. Despite the presence of the cyanide ligands, sodium ferrocyanide is not especially toxic (acceptable daily intake 0–0.025 mg/(kg body weight)[2]) because the cyanides are tightly bound to the metal. However, like all ferrocyanide salt solutions, addition of an acid (a hydrogen donor) can result in the production of cyanide gas (HCN), which is toxic. In its hydrous form, Na4Fe(CN)6·10H2O (sodium ferrocyanide decahydrate), it is sometimes known as yellow prussiate of soda. The yellow color is the color of ferrocyanide anion.

[edit] Uses

Sodium ferrocyanide is a chemical additive known as E 535. It is added to road and food grade salt as an anticaking agent.[2] When combined with iron, it converts to a deep blue pigment called Prussian blue.[3] In photography, it is used for bleaching, toning, and fixing. It is used as a stabilizer for the coating on welding rods. In the petroleum industry, it is used for removal of mercaptans.

[edit] Production

Sodium ferrocyanide is produced industrially from hydrogen cyanide, ferrous chloride, and calcium hydroxide, the combination of which affords Ca2[Fe(CN)6].11H2O. A solution of this salt is then treated with sodium salts to precipitate the mixed calcium-sodium salt CaNa2[Fe(CN)6], which in turn is treated with sodium carbonate to give the tetrasodium salt.[4]""

End of quote.

The ingredients list told Anticaking agent E535, if it was mentioned anti caking agent sodium ferrocyanate I would have thought twice or maybe even five times before succumbing to dd's pressure and buying it.
Sure it tastes good. Real good. Less oil than if Imade potato chips at home myself.
In my mind cyanide is something used for secret agents and terrorists of the enemy country to commit suicide. Or some filmi villianess using it to kill the hero or related person. It is not a real happens to others not to me!
Is it some conspiracy? giving chemical additives inocous harmless sounding names and lulling the general public. It is supposed to be harmless in at small doses. But I am still leery. I have to search for more information on the net.

Not only chips, anti caking agents are added to Salt, dry milk powder, Egg mixes, Flours, goodness is there anything left?

It is said accceptable daily intake 0.025mg/kg body weight per day. Now there's no indication of the amount of caking agent in that packet. So my DD is 42 kg so her acceptable daily inkae is 42 x 0.025 = 1.05 mg. I know many kids who can polish off 5 or 6 packets at a time in one go. Thank God My daughter is not interested in packet chips most of the time, we buy only when travelling and at petrol stations.

What action can I take? Well I have written this post for one, second Iwill tell all my friends, third stricly keep consumption to one packet at the most, Fourth read the lable and google the ingredients.

I think instead of chips I will have to depend upon wadawams and pappads.....Hmmm. Some more experimental cooking coming up.


  1. But without anti-caking agent how does one prevent the chips from spontaneously transforming into cakes???

  2. thanks but if you dont know your self then why go and get info from were everyone can get it????????????????? And trying to re tipping it to your site?????????????? Non sense.

  3. Anonymous on Feb,5,2014 at 11:54pm was for author of this site only.

  4. Thanks for this, I saw this additive in what I thought was pure SEA SALT! I was very suspicious, as it is called FerroCYANIDE!!! CYANIDE is deadly! I re-quote what you quoted above: "However, like all ferrocyanide salt solutions, addition of an acid (a hydrogen donor) can result in the production of cyanide gas (HCN), which is toxic." So am I right in thinking that only when it is mixed with an acid, does it produce a toxic gas? So am I right in thinking that only after you've swallowed the ghastly stuff, does it make toxic gases in your stomach, reacting with your stomach acids??!!

    1. Some cyanides are highly poisonous - Hydrogen and Potassium Cyanides are toxic in very small quantities. Sodium Ferrocyanide is not, unless given in large doses. Another cyanide-related compound is cyanocobalamin, a common form of Vitamin B12.

  5. Agenda 21 - do a search on this and then the above may make a bit more sense!!!

  6. Hi am also trying to find out about it, Cerebos salt calls it "Sodium Hexacyanoferrate II", yes it is an anti caking agent. I do like fine salt and not the chunky granules in sea salt as I think i use too much, but cant find fine sea salt without additives... might have to grind my own down fine.
    But I agree the cyanide part isnt that obvious as it only looks like ..cyan... Ok put anti caking agents in road salt but leave it out of table salt as I have also read that it strips out all the good beneficial minerals leaving us a barren unhealthy food suppliment.

  7. Yes, it's cyano... Based. Heaven forbid, super glue is, too. Cn is found in a lot of natural places. Even the tissues that make you! Infact, oldschool way to make was to burn nitrogen rich animal blood... Ld50 is similar to NaCl. Most anticaking agents are found at 0.1% in most salt brands. Making the salt itself far more toxic...


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