Anticaking agent

An anticaking agent is an additive placed in powdered or granulated materials, such as table salt or confectionaries to prevent the formation of lumps (caking) and for easing packaging, transport, flowability, and consumption.[1] Caking mechanisms depend on the nature of the material. Crystalline solids often cake by formation of liquid bridge and subsequent fusion of microcrystals. Amorphous materials can cake by glass transitions and changes in viscosity. Polymorphic phase transitions can also induce caking.[2]

Some anticaking agents function by absorbing excess moisture or by coating particles and making them water-repellent. Calcium silicate (CaSiO3), a commonly used anti-caking agent, added to e.g. table salt, absorbs both water and oil.

Anticaking agents are also used in non-food items such as road salt,[3] fertilisers,[4] cosmetics,[5] synthetic detergents,[6] and in manufacturing applications.

Some studies suggest that anticaking agents may have a negative effect of food nutrition, such as one study which indicated that most anti-caking agents result in the additional degradation of vitamin C added to food.[7]


An anticaking agent in salt is denoted in the ingredients, for example, as "anti-caking agent (554)", which is sodium aluminosilicate. This product is present in many commercial table salts as well as dried milk, egg mixes, sugar products, flours and spices. In Europe, sodium ferrocyanide (535) and potassium ferrocyanide (536) are more common anticaking agents in table salt. "Natural" anticaking agents used in more expensive table salt include calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.

List of anticaking agents

The most widely used anticaking agents include the stearates of calcium and magnesium, silica and various silicates, talc, as well as flour and starch. Ferrocyanides are used for table salt.[1] The following anticaking agents are listed in order by their number in the Codex Alimentarius.


  1. ^ a b Lück, Erich; von Rymon Lipinski, Gert-Wolfhard (2000). "Foods, 3. Food Additives". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. doi:10.1002/14356007.a11_561. ISBN 978-3-527-30385-4.
  2. ^ Mingyang Chen, Songgu Wu, Shiji eXu, Bo Yu, Mohannad Shilbayeh, Ya Liu, Xiaowen Zhu, Jingkang Wang, Junbo Gong (2018). "Caking of Crystals: Characterization, Mechanisms and Prevention". Powder Technology. 337: 51–67. doi:10.1016/j.powtec.2017.04.052.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Anticaking Admixtures to Road Salt". Retrieved 2010-06-17.
  4. ^ "Fertilizer compositions containing alkylene oxide adduct anticaking agents". Retrieved 2010-06-17.
  5. ^ "Talc Information". Retrieved 2010-06-17.
  6. ^ "Synthetic Detergents: Introduction to Detergent Chemistry". 2006-12-15. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
  7. ^ Lipasek, R. A; Taylor, L. S; Mauer, L. J (2011). "Effects of anticaking agents and relative humidity on the physical and chemical stability of powdered vitamin C". Journal of Food Science. 76 (7): C1062–74. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02333.x. PMID 22417544.

Aromat is the brand name of a general-purpose seasoning produced in Switzerland and South Africa under the brand name Knorr, which is owned by the Unilever group. Packaging is generally a red plastic bottle with a yellow label bearing its name in green lettering, but it is also now sold in yellow bottles. It is marketed predominantly in Europe and in South Africa, although is also known to be marketed in Australia, Hong Kong and parts of the Middle East.

Calcium silicate

Calcium silicate is the chemical compound Ca2SiO4, also known as calcium orthosilicate and is sometimes formulated as 2CaO·SiO2. It is also referred to by the shortened trade name Cal-Sil or Calsil.

Calcium stearate

Calcium stearate is a carboxylate of calcium, classified as a calcium soap. It is a component of some lubricants, surfactants, as well as many foodstuffs. It is a white waxy powder.

Celery salt

Celery salt is a seasoned salt used as a food seasoning, made from ground seeds, which may come from celery or its relative lovage. It is also sometimes produced using dried celery or seed oleoresin.


Coffee-Mate is a coffee whitener lactose-free creamer manufactured by Nestlé, available in powdered, liquid and concentrated liquid forms. It was introduced in 1961 by Carnation.

Corn starch

Corn starch or maize starch is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. Corn starch is a common food ingredient, used in thickening sauces or soups, and in making corn syrup and other sugars. It is versatile, easily modified, and finds many uses in industry as adhesives, in paper products, as an anti-sticking agent, and textile manufacturing. It has medical uses, such as to supply glucose for people with glycogen storage disease.Like many products in dust form, it can be hazardous in large quantities due to its flammability. When mixed with a fluid, cornstarch can rearrange itself into a non-Newtonian fluid. For example, adding water transforms cornstarch into a material commonly known as Oobleck while adding oil transforms cornstarch into an electrorheological (ER) fluid. The concept can be explained through the mixture termed "cornflour slime".

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth ( ) – also known as D.E., diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr – is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 μm to more than 1 mm, but typically 10 to 200 μm. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and has a low density as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80–90% silica, with 2–4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5–2% iron oxide.Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled protist (chrysophytes). It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including metal polishes and toothpaste, mechanical insecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, a thermal insulator, and a soil for potted plants and trees like bonsai.

Eclipse (breath freshener)

Eclipse is a brand of chewing gum and breath mint, first introduced in the U.S. by the Wrigley Company in 1999 as its first entrant into the pellet gum segment. However, it was modeled after Excel in Canada, which was launched in 1991, eight years before Eclipse was launched.

Eclipse is a brand that promises to give users "powerful fresh breath". It comes in blister packs of 12, the Big-E-Pak - 60 count plastic container of candy-coated pellets, and the recently added split packs that include 18 pellets. Eclipse gum is available in the U.S, Australia and Latvia, but are also sold in Canada under the name Excel.

Mints, in metal and paper (Europe) containers, are also sold by Wrigley under the Eclipse brand, as is Eclipse Ice gum.

In late 2007, the American Dental Association awarded its seal of approval to Eclipse sugarfree gum. Orbit and Extra, two other chewing gum products from the same company, also bear the ADA seal.


Ferrocyanide is the name of the anion [Fe(CN)6]4−. Salts of this coordination complex give yellow solutions. It is usually available as the salt potassium ferrocyanide, which has the formula K4Fe(CN)6. [Fe(CN)6]4− is a diamagnetic species, featuring low-spin iron(II) center in an octahedral ligand environment. Although many salts of cyanide are highly toxic, ferro- and ferricyanides are less toxic because they tend not to release free cyanide. It is of commercial interest as a precursor to the pigment Prussian blue and, as its potassium salt, an anticaking agent.

Fumed silica

Fumed silica (CAS number 112945-52-5), also known as pyrogenic silica because it is produced in a flame, consists of microscopic droplets of amorphous silica fused into branched, chainlike, three-dimensional secondary particles which then agglomerate into tertiary particles. The resulting powder has an extremely low bulk density and high surface area. Its three-dimensional structure results in viscosity-increasing, thixotropic behavior when used as a thickener or reinforcing filler.

International Numbering System for Food Additives

The International Numbering System for Food Additives (INS) is a European-based naming system for food additives, aimed at providing a short designation of what may be a lengthy actual name. It is defined by Codex Alimentarius, the international food standards organisation of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN). The information is published in the document Class Names and the International Numbering System for Food Additives, first published in 1989, with revisions in 2008 and 2011. The INS is an open list, "subject to the inclusion of additional additives or removal of existing ones on an ongoing basis".

List of food additives

Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste, appearance, or other qualities.

Onion powder

Onion powder is dehydrated, ground onion that is commonly used as a seasoning. It is a common ingredient in seasoned salt and spice mixes, such as beau monde seasoning. Some varieties are prepared using toasted onion. White, yellow and red onions may be used. Onion powder is a commercially prepared food product that has several culinary uses. Onion powder can also be homemade.Onion salt is a spice preparation using dried onion and salt as primary ingredients.

Shake 'n Bake

Shake 'n Bake, manufactured by Kraft Foods, is a flavored bread crumb-style coating for chicken and pork. The product is applied by placing raw meat pieces in a bag containing the coating, closing the bag, and shaking so the particles adhere. The coated meat is then baked in the oven.

First introduced in 1965 by General Foods, it is currently marketed under the Kraft brand.

Silica gel

Silica gel is an amorphous and porous form of silicon dioxide (silica), consisting of an irregular tridimensional framework of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms with nanometer-scale voids and pores. The voids may contain water or some other liquids, or may be filled by gas or vacuum. In the latter case, the material is properly called silica xerogel.

Silica xerogel with an average pore size of 2.4 nanometers has a strong affinity for water molecules and is widely used as a desiccant. It is hard and translucent, but considerably softer than massive silica glass or quartz; and remains hard when saturated with water.

Silica xerogel is usually commercialized as coarse granules or beads, a few millimeters in diameter. Some grains may contain small amounts of a substance that changes color when they have absorbed some water. Small paper envelopes containing silica xerogel pellets, usually with a "do not eat" warning, are often included in dry food packages to absorb any humidity that might cause spoilage of the food.

'Wet' silica gel, as may be freshly prepared from alkali silicate solutions, may vary in consistency from a soft transparent gel, similar to gelatin or agar, to a hard solid, namely a water-logged xerogel. It is sometimes used in laboratory processes, for example to suppress convection in liquids or prevent settling of suspended particles.


Smint is a type of breath mint. All Smint candies have a triangular shape and many are engraved with an "S". They are known for their packaging that dispenses one mint at a time.

Sodium ferrocyanide

Sodium ferrocyanide is the sodium salt of the coordination compound of formula [Fe(CN)6]4−. In its hydrous form, Na4Fe(CN)6 · 10H2O (sodium ferrocyanide decahydrate), it is sometimes known as yellow prussiate of soda. It is a yellow crystalline solid that is soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. The yellow color is the color of ferrocyanide anion. Despite the presence of the cyanide ligands, sodium ferrocyanide has low toxicity (acceptable daily intake 0–0.025 mg/kg body weight). The ferrocyanides are less toxic than many salts of cyanide, because they tend not to release free cyanide. However, like all ferrocyanide salt solutions, addition of an acid can result in the production of hydrogen cyanide gas, which is toxic.


Talc is a clay mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula Mg3Si4O10(OH)2. Talc in powdered form, often in combination with corn starch, is a widely used substance known as baby powder. This mineral is used as a thickening agent and lubricant, is an ingredient in ceramics, paint and roofing material, and is also one of the main ingredients in many cosmetic products. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, and in an exceptionally rare crystal form. It has a perfect basal cleavage, uneven flat fracture and it is foliated with a two dimensional platy form.

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is based on scratch hardness comparison, ranging from 1-10, a value of 10 being the hardest of minerals. Talc is the defining value 1 therefore the softest of minerals. Any mineral below a value of 2 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness can be scratched by a fingernail. When scraped on a streak plate it produces a white streak, though this indicator is of little importance because most silicate minerals produce a white streak. Talc is translucent to opaque with colors ranging from whitish grey to green with a vitreous and pearly luster. Talc is not soluble in water, but is slightly soluble in dilute mineral acids.Soapstone is a well known metamorphic rock composed predominantly of talc.

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