Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Sorbitol

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: 9*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 1
  • ID Code: 50-70-4
  • Year: 1972
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1835

SCOGS Opinion:

The available information reveals that there are no short-term toxicological consequences in rats, mice, monkeys, or man, and no long-term toxicological consequences in rats, of consuming sorbitol in amounts exceeding those currently consumed in the normal diet of the U.S. population. There is no evidence that consumption of sorbitol as a food ingredient has had adverse effects on man in the many years it has been so used.

It is to be noted that sorbitol begins to exert a laxative effect at levels that are about twice the estimated average adult intake level and about equal to the estimated maximum adult intake level. It should be noted also that the average consumption levels of children in the age groups 6-11 months and 12-23 months are not estimated to be close to, or in excess of, those capable of exerting a laxative effect. However, because the reported average and maximum intake levels are known to be generous overestimates, it is the opinion of the Select Committee that the use of sorbitol in food in the present or reasonably foreseeable amounts poses no problem in this regard.

The Select Committee is concerned that the actual consumption of sorbitol may be considerably higher than average consumption in certain segments of the population. These individuals, for dietary reasons, may select foods containing particularly high levels of sorbitol. Currently available food consumption data do not permit the Select Committee to determine the extent and significance of this problem in regard to sorbitol.

The Select Committee has weighed the foregoing and concludes that:

There is no evidence in the available information to show that sorbitol as a food ingredient constitues a hazard to the general public when 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.

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