Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Cellulose, Microcrystalline cellulose

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.

Cellulose and Microcrystalline cellulose

SCOGS Report Number: 25
NTIS Accession Number: PB274667*
Year of Report: 1973
SubstanceID Code21 CFR Section
Microcrystalline cellulose977005-28-9 

SCOGS Opinion:

Cellulose is a major constituent of many foods of plant origin. As such it is a significant portion of the diet, but is neither degraded nor absorbed. Cellulose derivatives considered in this report are virtually unabsorbed and little or no degradation of absorbed and little or no degradation of absorbable products occurs in the human digestive tract. In man, consumption of large amounts appears to have no effect other than providing dietary bulk, reducing the nutritive value of such foodstuffs and possibly exerting a laxative effect. However, the existence of certain data and the different categorization of cellulose and the several cellulose derivatives on the GRAS list suggest that the Select Committee should render a separate opinion on each substance considered in this report.


Although pure cellulose and regenerated cellulose, including microcrystalline cellulose are not on the GRAS list, there is nothing in the available information to suggest that such forms of cellulose have significantly different biological properties that distinguish these forms of cellulose from those currently considered as GRAS or from naturally occurring cellulose.

In view of the foregoing, the Select Committee concludes that:

There is no evidence in the available information on pure and regenerated cellulose, including microcrystalline cellulose, 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 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.

Page Last Updated: 10/16/2015
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