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Food and sulfuric acid – at first sight, this combination seems impossible. Actually, highly diluted sulfuric acid is an approved acidifying agent and is approved as a food additive in Europe under number E513. In Leverkusen, LANXESS manufactures this product at food-grade quality.
When you bite into a cheese sandwich you normally do not think of sulfuric acid. Yet this inorganic acid is used as a technical auxiliary material and as the additive E 513, for example, in dairy for the production of cheese, as well as in sugar refineries and for the treatment of drinking water. Producers utilize the decomposing effect of the acid which, in its concentrated form, can decompose proteins and carbohydrates. These properties are needed for the production of modified starch and special whey proteins, which are required in muscle development products.

The strong chemical compound can be used in two ways, as a technical auxiliary material or as as the additive E 513, which is harmless to health. In the first case, the use of sulfuric acid does not need to be indicated. In the second case, it must be stated in the list of additives.
Before sulfuric acid can be used in the food industry, either as a technical auxiliary material or as the additive E 513, it has to overcome major barriers. Its food-grade quality must be fully and traceably documented and presented to the supervisory authorities. To fully meet these criteria, the LANXESS group, which has produced sulfuric acid for more than 100 years, uses a state-of-the-art plant.

With a hazard analysis of critical control points (the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points concept is abbreviated as: HACCP) LANXESS ensures that health hazards are eliminated. The concept is clearly structured and oriented to preventative measures. There is a clear focus on consumer protection. Because of this, all hazards that are associated with foodstuffs and that could result in illness or injury to consumers must be avoided.

In addition to stringent hygiene requirements, a transportation system suitable for food is also required: The carrier requires a food certification. The tank containers must only be approved for foods, and filling must be carried out under hermetically sealed conditions.

Sulfuric acid intended for the food industry is stored in special tanks to prevent contamination. In addition, in Leverkusen E 513 sulfuric acid is strictly separated from acid that is only used for technical purposes. LANXESS controls the entire process at several points, from production and filling, up to transportation – and also has this checked by independent auditors. LANXESS thus ensures that food industry agents carrying out further processing only receive high quality sulfuric acid that meets the stringent food regulations.

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