What Is E464
You may be interested, and also shocked, as I was, to know that a particular ingredient in some prominent gluten free brands on the market contains an ingredient, that when looked into further, is very alarming.
I was offered this white powder product for use in our loaves approximately 2 years ago. I was told it was an easy way to add volume and lightness to gluten free bread and baked goods. I made a decision not to use it because the name of the product did not sound like a food to me.
Just recently while I was looking at the ingredients list of these brands in question I noticed that the code number for this ingredient was in their product. I then remembered that I had been emailed a product data sheet of this ingredient when I was first introduced to it so I went back into my old emails and found it. I was shocked, to say the least, at what ingredients this powder contained. You will not find this information on the bread ingredients list as the manufacturer is only required to list the code number.
The ingredient I am referring to is a product called Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. It goes by the number 464 or E464. This is all you will see on the ingredients list and is usually classified as a stabiliser. It is a commercially prepared, chemically modified wood cellulose product.
As well as being used in foods it is also used in, but not limited to:
- Tile Adhesives
- Cement renders
- Gypsum products
- Paints & Coatings
- Detergents & cleaners
- Eye Drops
Most alarming for me was the heavy metals present in this ingredient:
It came as no surprise to me to find that this has been approved by the FDA. Although the amounts of these heavy metals are small the accumulative effect of them on the body is well known. Information on this can easily be found on the internet.
Below are some links that you may find of interest that refer to Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and its use. Obviously due to 464 being approved by the FDA, some of the articles below are in favour of its use. However they fail to mention the heavy metal content and any consequences of heavy metal toxicity, instead showing more enthusiasm about its fibre content, bulking properties and its ability to save money for the manufacturer.
- Written response to Methocel query: This PDF is about Methocel, a trademarked product which is also Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. Page 2 confirms the heavy metals present.
- 15 Food Companies That Serve You 'Wood': It would seem that Cellulose products are increasingly being used in foods as cheap filler and stabiliser and is being allowed by the FDA. This may all be well but I would be concerned if these cellulose products, if not already Hydroxypropylmethelcellulose, have gone through the same chemical process and now contain the same heavy metals.
- Why Wood Pulp Makes Ice Cream Creamier: I understand that much of the food we eat is of plant origin but the concern I have is when inedible plant matter is put through a highly refined chemical process leaving it with heavy metal residue and having it claimed safe to eat.
- Information on Food Additives: This website gives information about additives and advice. 464 is the second additive on the page.
- Material Safety Data Sheet: This is a data sheet for companies using HPMC. It explains possible side effects if one should come into contact with the powder and the appropriate action required.
If this information concerns you, make sure that you check all gluten free products for the ingredient number 464 or E464. All Thoroughbread products are E464-free.