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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Licorice, Glycyrrhiza, and Ammoniated Glycyrrhizin

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.

Licorice, Glycyrrhiza, and Ammoniated Glycyrrhizin

  • SCOGS-Report Number: 28*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 2
  • ID Code: 1405-86-3
  • Year: 1974
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1408

SCOGS Opinion:

Orally administered licorice and licorice derivatives are absorbed to some extent and the principal metabolic products are excreted through the bile, but most of an ingested dose is hydrolyzed in the digestive tract and the products excreted through the feces. Acute and short-term substances of a very low order of toxicity, capable of eliciting a variety of pharmacological effects but only at levels considerably higher than are likely to be achieved in usual diets. None of these effects suggests cause for convern at current or foreseeable dietary levels of consumption. However, the capacity of licorice and licorice derivatives to elicit transitory hypertensive effects, at higher dosage levels in animals and man, requires more definitive clarification as far as its practical implications are concerned. This would be particularly important for the unknown number but probably few individuals who may indulge themselves with excessive intakes of licorice-containing candies and/or beverages. The Select Committee has found no long-term toxicological data on licorice-related products administered to animals or man. Until the long-term as well as the acute dose relationships of the hypertensive effect are clarified, it appears inappropriate to conclude that unrestricted use of licorice and licorice derivatives in food would be without hazard to consumers in general. In the light of the foregoing and the information elsewhere in this report, the Select Committee concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on licorice, glycyrrhiza, and ammoniated glycyrrhizin that demonstrates or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public when they are used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced. However, it is not possible to determine, without additional data, whether a significant increase in consumption would constitute a dietary hazard.

*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.