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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: L(+) potassium acid tartrate

The GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Database allows access to opinions and conclusions from 115 SCOGS reports published between 1972-1980 on the safety of over 370 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food substances. The GRAS ingredient reviews were conducted by the Select Committee in response to a 1969 White House directive by President Richard M. Nixon.

L(+) potassium acid tartrate

  • SCOGS-Report Number: 107*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 1
  • ID Code: 868-14-4
  • Year: 1979
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1077

SCOGS Opinion:

Tartrates occur naturally in many fruits and high concentrations are found in wine. Consumer exposure data suggest that about 6mg each of tartaric acid and potassium acid tartrate added to foods are ingested daily per capita (a total of about 0.2mg per kg in an adult). The literature indicates that there are no differences in the biological effects of the several tartrates added to food and that their toxicity is dose related. Studies using modern tracer techniques would be helpful in ascertaining the extent of absortion and metabolic fate of ingested tartrates. Tartrates are reported to elicit nephritic lesions in several animal species, but usually only after parenteral injection of very large doses. Daily ingestion of 2.3g per kg of body weight per day for 150 days produced no ill effects in rabbits. No toxicity was found in rats ingesting up to 1.2g per kg of body weight of tartaric acid in the diet daily for 2 years. The daily intake of tartrates added to foods is orders of magnitude below that which could be expected to cause toxicity in man.

In light of the above, the Select Committee concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on L(+) potassium acid tartrate, L(+) sodium potassium tartrate acid that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current, or that might reasonably be expected in the future.

*Complete reports containing details of the safety studies that formed the basis of the opinions and conclusions and are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000.