Flavor enhancers in food can affect our health due to harmful chemical compounds in them. We are becoming conscious about these flavor enhancers to such an extent that the food manufacturers have also started avoiding these elements.
Disodium Inosinate is one of the most used food enhancers that you’ll find in a great variety of grocery products. Usually, it’s combined with other flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG). Considering the health factor associated with the consumption of these flavors, we will try to analyze whether these are safe at all. Before we precede to disodium inosinatedangers, let us know what it is.
What is Disodium Inosinate?
Disodium Inosinate (E631) is the disodium salt of inosinic acid, which works as a food enhancer. The taste Disodium Inosinate in food generates is kind of meaty and savory, which is also known as umami taste. Usually, foods containing this flavor are irresistibly tasty and addictive. If you have ever wondered why it is hard to resist a pack of potato chips, Disodium Inosinate might be the reason.
IMP, Disodium 5′-inosinate, Disodium inosine-5′-monophosphate and 5′-inosinic acid, disodium salt are some other names of this food flavor. It is one of the majorly used food flavors in fast foods, processed foods and other savory and sweet items. Know whether Disodium Inosinate is considered vegan or not with us.
How is Disodium Inosinate Made and its Properties
The CAS number of this compound is 4691-65-0 and the molecular weight is 392.17(anhydrous). Disodium Inosinate can be made by two methods. It can be produced from bacterial fermentation of sugar or carbon source. Also, it can be produced by the degradation of nucleotides into nucleic acid from yeast extract (Learn yeast’s vegan status with this article).
The chemical formula of Disodium Inosinate is C10H11N4Na2O8P. It is an expensive product and mostly combined with other enhancers like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and disodium guanylate (GMP). When it is combined with GMP, it is named as disodium 5′-ribonucleotides or E635. If MSG is not listed in the label of a product while Disodium Inosinate is listed, it is possible that glutamic acid is combined or it naturally occurs from the food ingredients like tomatoes, parmesan cheese, or yeast extract.
Disodium Inosinate appears as a white granular or powder. It is odorless and soluble in water. If you take 13g of Disodium Inosinate and mix it with 100ml of water at 20 degrees F, you will see it dissolving. It is also soluble in organic solvents like ethanol and insoluble in ether. However, the stability of this compound is very high as it remains absolutely stable at 100 °C. Until the temperature is around 230 °C, Disodium Inosinate will not decompose.
Is Disodium Inosinate Safe?
Yes, since Disodium Inosinate has been listed as an authorised food additive in the Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012. It comes under the category of “additives other than colors and sweeteners”. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have also declared this product as safe.
In the UK, Australia and New Zealand food standards, it is declared safe. In UK food standard agencies, it is categorized as others while in Australia and New Zealand; it is listed as safe with the code number 631.WHO Expert Committee on Food Additiveshas also declared it as safe. However, they have not specified the daily intake.
Before you consider it as safe for you, it is essential to know whether you are allergic to its taste. There are chances of side effects on people with specific health issues, allergies or intolerance.
Disodium Inosinate Side Effects
It is a very common concern among us and here is the answer. Usually, there are no chances of side effects as declared by the food standard associations. To check the toxicity of this flavor, it has been tested on animals like rats, rabbits, chickens, dogs, monkeys and also humans.
No sign of significant toxicity has been found in the results. No sign of carcinogenicity and genotoxicity has been found. It also doesn’t have any adverse effects on reproduction and therefore, is safe for pregnant women. However, consulting your doctor is recommended before you come to a conclusion.
What foods contain Disodium Inosinate?
As a flavor enhancer, Disodium Inosinate is found in a variety of food like instant noodles, pizza, cheese, tomato sauces (check if ketch up is vegan or not), soups, fast food, baking food like Bisquick, snack food, potato chips like Pringles, crackers, meat, seafood, poultry, canned food, ice cream, soft candy, pudding, condiment and seasonings. You can check whether Graham crackers are vegan or not in the vegan FAQs section.
Is Disodium Inosinate Gluten Free? – Yes, it is considered gluten free. It does not contain wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of any of these grains and complies with FDA’s definition.
Now that you know about the secret ingredient e631 flavour enhancer in pizza and other food items is the reason for your cravings, you are more conscious about its consumption. You can easily check the packaged food labels as well to see whether Disodium Inosinate is used. For infants and children, it is better to avoid this ingredient.
Baby food brands and other brands that produce foods for children usually do not put Disodium Inosinate for safety purpose.
As a gluten free food flavor, Disodium Inosinate is safe for those with gluten intolerance. For those tolerant to Disodium Inosinate, it is safe until you have an inadequate proportion. Gorging on large portions of fast food, instant noodles and pizzas have many other side effects that you need to be conscious about as well.