An anticaking agent is an additive placed in powdered or granulated materials, such as table salt or confectionaries to prevent the formation of lumps (caking) and for easing packaging, transport, and consumption.
An anticaking agent in salt is denoted in the ingredients, for example, as "anti-caking agent (554)", which is sodium aluminosilicate, a man-made product. This product is present in many commercial table salts as well as dried milk, egg mixes, sugar products, and flours. In Europe, sodium ferrocyanide (535) and potassium ferrocyanide (536) are more common anticaking agents in table salt. "Natural" anticaking agents used in more expensive table salt include calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.
Some anticaking agents are soluble in water, others are soluble in alcohols or other organic solvents. They function either by absorbing excess moisture or by coating particles and making them water-repellent. Calcium silicate (CaSiO3), a commonly used anti-caking agent, added to e.g. table salt, absorbs both water and oil.
List of anticaking agents
The most widely used anticaking agents include the stearates of calcium and magnesium, silica and various silicates, talc, as well as flour and starch. Ferrocyanides are used for table salt. The following anticaking agents are listed in order by their number in the Codex Alimentarius.
- 341 tricalcium phosphate
- 460(ii) powdered cellulose
- 470b magnesium stearate
- 500 sodium bicarbonate
- 535 sodium ferrocyanide
- 536 potassium ferrocyanide
- 538 calcium ferrocyanide
- 542 bone phosphate
- 550 sodium silicate
- 551 silicon dioxide
- 552 calcium silicate
- 553a magnesium trisilicate
- 553b talcum powder
- 554 sodium aluminosilicate
- 555 potassium aluminium silicate
- 556 calcium aluminosilicate
- 558 bentonite
- 559 aluminium silicate
- 570 stearic acid
- 900 polydimethylsiloxane
- Erich Lück and Gert-Wolfhard von Rymon Lipinski "Foods, 3. Food Additives" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi: 10.1002/14356007.a11_561
- "Anticaking Admixtures to Road Salt". Transportation.org. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "Fertilizer compositions containing alkylene oxide adduct anticaking agents". Google.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "Talc Information". Cosmeticsinfo.org. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- "Synthetic Detergents: Introduction to Detergent Chemistry". Chemistry.co.nz. 2006-12-15. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
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