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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Dextrins

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.


  • SCOGS-Report Number: 75*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 1
  • ID Code: 9004-53-9
  • Year: 1975
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1277

SCOGS Opinion:

The dextrines covered by this report are those produced by the dry heating of unmodified starch under the range of conditions specified in the body of the report as representative of commercial practice for this class of products. Included are the white dextrines, yellow or canary dextrins and the British gums. The dextrines are similar to their parent starches in that they are composed principally of α-D-anhydroglucose units joined through 1,4-linkages; they differ in that dextrinization reduces the molecular weight and, particularly in case of the yellow or canary dextrines and the British gums, increases branching in the molecules. Dextrinization slightly reduces the digestibility of corn and wheat starch, probably attibutable to the more highly branched structure of the dextrins.

Animal feeding studies have shown dextrins to be digested and metabolized to a limited degree without toxic effects when fed at levels many times greater than those present from use of these products as a direct food additive, or at levels that are orders of magnitude greater than might occur by migration from food packaging materials containing dextrins. The Select Committee concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on dextrins and corn dextrin 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 be reasonably 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.