Emulsifier (339) also known as Sodium phosphate is a food additive used for many purposes like, as a leavening agent in baked goods (leavening agents help baked foods to rise like bread), control the pH of foods, modify textures, act as an emulsifier (emulsifiers help to prevent oil and water mixtures from separating into layers), as a thickener (they improve texture and maintain uniform consistency), it also increases shelf life. It is also used as a laxative. Sodium phosphate is obtained from mined phosphate rock. The rock is then crushed and mixed with sulfuric acid. Phosphoric acid is further extracted from this mixture. In order to produce food grade phosphoric acid, impurities like arsenic, fluorine are removed. Finally, the acid is combined with a sodium base to result in sodium phosphate (E 339).
Overconsumption of E 339 may result in bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, dizziness, seizures, reduced urine output, and irregular heartbeat.(1) People who are at risk on consumption of E 339 include those with kidney disease, heart failure, colitis, intestinal tears and blockages and those allergic to it.(2)
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