What is citric acid – E 330?

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A versatile and widely distributed organic material, citric acid is a colorless crystalline compound, which belongs to the family of carboxylic acids.

Citric acid is present in almost all tissues of plants and many animals. The highest concentration of citric acid is found in lemons and other citrus fruits.

First, citric acid is obtained from the lemon juice. Swiss chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele was the first person who get citric acid from lemon in 1784 year, using the fungus Aspergillus niger.

In our time, citric acid is mainly produced by fermentation of sugar cane or molasses in the presence of Aspergillus niger, and sometimes – from lemon or pineapple. So, citric acid is not chemistry – as many think.


Citric acid is widely used in the food industry. You can find it in a variety of products – in soft drinks, juices, pastries, cheese, spreads, cakes, cookies, ice cream, jams, marmalades, finished soups and sauces, cans etc.

What health problems can cause citric acid

It is well known that citric acid is a local irritant. This means that undiluted citric acid can irritate the skin.

In addition, large amounts of citric acid may cause erosion of tooth enamel.
For the same reason no recommended daily intake of large amounts of lemon juice or other citrus fruit, which contains high amounts of citric acid.

Does citric acid causes cancer?
Rumors about the citric acid causes cancer, are erroneous.
This error is allegedly due surnames scientists, who discovered the citric acid cycle – Adolf Krebs (Krebs in German means cancer).

Citric acid (E330) is not carcinogenic. If citric acid caused cancer, every cell of our body would be turned into a cancer cell, because the citric acid is present in all our station, next to the DNA.

In contrast, citric acid is considered one of the safest additives in the food industry.
To make the story even funnier, it was found that citric acid has anti-cancer properties. Even in some alternative methods of cancer treatment.


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  1. Pingback: Understanding the ingredient’s list in food – Expat in Munich

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