News Release

New standard for designer, sodium-free salt substitute in FCC forum

Glycerin standard also revised to help prevent adulteration of food ingredients

Business Announcement

US Pharmacopeia

Rockville, Md., June 30, 2010 — New standards for food ingredients such as a designer salt substitute that is sodium free and a revised standard for glycerin to include new tests to help guard against adulteration are among the latest proposed updates to the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), an internationally recognized compendium of quality standards published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). Manufacturers and other parties are encouraged to comment on these proposals, which are contained in the most recent FCC Forum—the vehicle for public review of FCC standards—which was released today (see

"Evolving to meet the needs of the food industry and regulatory bodies that rely upon the Food Chemicals Codex, the latest FCC Forum includes proposed standards that will help ensure the continuing quality of food ingredients, in the United States and worldwide," said James Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards for USP. "An example from today's FCC Forum is one of the newer salt substitutes that is sodium-free. As segments of the food industry begin to voluntarily reduce salt in foods, and with the Institute of Medicine recently calling for better defined salt levels for food, the availability of standards for substitutes can play an important role, particularly as alternatives to salt become more heavily relied upon. Considering this, the existence of public quality standards for these newer ingredients is critical."

Proposed updates in the latest FCC Forum include:

 New Standard for Magnesium Ammonium Potassium Chloride Hydrate—Considered one of the newer, designer salt substitutes, this ingredient differs from other substitutes in its composition because it is a true triple-salt complex and not a simple, physical mixture. Sodium-free salt substitutes of this type may become more important in food processing and formulation as consumers and regulators continue to be concerned about elevated levels of sodium in the diet. The FCC standard for this new salt substitute will designate the ingredient's chemical formula, structure and weight; function and definition; impurity limits; and packaging, storage and labeling information.

 New and Updated Mineral Oil Standards—At the request of Health Canada, the latest FCC Forum includes an update to the food additive Mineral Oil, Medium and Low Viscosity, which is used as a defoaming, release, glazing and sealing agent, to broaden the range of densities included. The FCC is recognized in law in Canada, and USP works with the agency to update standards to better serve the government and consumers of Canada as well as the international community. The FCC Forum also includes a new standard for Mineral Oil, High Viscosity, a food contact material used as a release agent, as a protective coating or to lubricate manufacturing equipment.

 Glycerin Standard Update—To help grapple with the threat of adulteration, the latest FCC Forum includes new tests and tighter specifications for the identity and purity of this widely used food ingredient. An optional test for detecting diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol is also proposed.

The FCC includes standards covering quality and purity for more than 1,100 food ingredients, including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives and processing aids. In addition, the FCC includes validated methods in its appendixes with step-by-step guidance to analyze food ingredients and demonstrate their authenticity, quality and purity. The FCC is used by finished food and beverage manufacturers, food chemical and ingredient suppliers, food quality control professionals and regulatory bodies around the world for managing supply chains, maintaining regulatory compliance and conducting day-to-day business transactions as part of contracts between food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers.


The FCC Forum is free and open to all interested parties for review and comment. To view the latest FCC Forum, please visit or email

USP—Advancing Public Health Since 1820

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific, nonprofit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. USP's standards are recognized and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit

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