The Food Additive Propylene Glycol Alginate has Applied to Adjust Use and/or Dosage in China

On January 29, NHC issued a Notice of Commencement of Review for new varieties of food additives. The substance Propylene glycol alginate (PGA) is mentioned therein.

According to China's food safety regulations, all imported food formula ingredients must in the NHC (National Health Commission of China) approved list, including food additives, edible colorings, nutritional supplements, etc

Moreover, the NHC has strict regulations on each food additive ingredient, which category of food can be used, and the limit of the content used;

Based on GB 2760 China Food Additive Use Standard, Propylene glycol alginate (PGA) can be used as a thickener, emulsifier and stabilizer. Therefore, it is determined that this time it is intended to expand the scope of use or dosage.


What is Propylene glycol alginate (PGA)?

Propylene glycol alginate (PGA) is an emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener used in food products. It is a food additive with E number E405. Chemically, propylene glycol alginate is an ester of alginic acid, which is derived from kelp. Some of the carboxyl groups are esterified with propylene glycol, some are neutralized with an appropriate alkali, and some remain free.


What are the Possible Functions of  PGA as a Food Additive?

1. PGA helps give products a smooth and natural texture and taste, even under reduction conditions, such as in yogurt.

2. PGA helps give products a glossy and smooth appearance.

3. PGA can mix well with other ingredients and can be applied during the fermentation process in any range of pH value. Further, PGA improves dispersibility and solubility in products. Moreover, it is heat stable.

4. PGA not only acts as a stabilizing agent but also as an emulsifier.


Is PGA Safe?

As a food additive, propylene glycol is on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally regarded as safe list (not to be confused with ethylene glycol, which is extremely toxic if ingested). According to the FDA, as a food additive, propylene glycol is metabolized in the body and is used as a normal carbohydrate source. Long-term use and substantial quantities of propylene glycol (up to five percent of the total food intake) can be consumed without causing toxicity. There is no evidence in the available information on propylene glycol that demonstrates or suggests a hazard to the public when they are used at the current level or at a reasonably expected level in the future.



· Propylene glycol alginate, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

· Is propylene glycol alginate a safe food additive, Karen Pendergrass

· Regulations for the Management of New Varieties of Food Additives, The Law on Legislation of the People's Republic of China

· Propylene Glycol Alginate, Medically reviewed by

· GB 2760, China Food Additive Use Standard

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