Re-evaluation of l(+)-tartaric acid (E 334), sodium tartrates (E 335), potassium tartrates (E 336), potassium sodium tartrate (E 337) and calcium tartrate (E 354) as food additives

Maged Younes, Gabriele Aquilina, Laurence Castle, Karl-Heinz Engel, Paul Fowler, Maria Jose Frutos Fernandez, Peter Fürst, Rainer Gürtler, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Trine Husøy, Wim Mennes, Romina Shah, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Detlef Wölfle, Polly Boon, Paul Tobback, Matthew Wright, Jaime Aguilera, Ana Maria Rincon, Alexandra TardPeter Moldeus, EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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The EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF) provides a scientific opinion on tartaric acid-tartrates (E 334-337, 354) when used as food additives. The Scientific Committee for Food (SCF) in 1990 established an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 30 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day, for l(+)-tartaric acid and its potassium and sodium salts. The metabolism of l(+)-tartaric acid and its potassium sodium salt was shown to be species dependent, with a greater absorption in rats than in humans. No toxic effects, including nephrotoxicity, were observed in toxicological studies in which the l(+)-form was tested. There was no indication for a genotoxic potential of tartaric acid and its sodium and potassium salts. In a chronic study in rats, no indication for carcinogenicity of monosodium l(+)-tartrate was reported at the highest dose tested (3,100 mg/kg bw per day). The available studies for maternal or developmental toxicity did not report any relevant effects; no studies for reproductive toxicity were available; however, no effects on reproductive organs were observed in the chronic toxicity study. The Panel concluded that the data on systemic availability were robust enough to derive a chemical-specific uncertainty factor instead of the usual default uncertainty factor of 100. A total uncertainty factor of 10 was derived by applying a total interspecies uncertainty factor of 1 instead of 10, based on data showing lower internal exposure in humans compared to rats. The Panel established a group ADI for l(+)-tartaric acid-tartrates (E 334-337 and E 354) of 240 mg/kg bw per day, expressed as tartaric acid, by applying the total uncertainty factor of 10 to the reference point of 3,100 mg sodium tartrate/kg bw per day, approximately to 2,440 mg tartaric acid/kg bw per day. The exposure estimates for the different population groups for the refined non-brand-loyal exposure scenario did not exceed the group ADI of 240 mg/kg bw per day, expressed as tartaric acid. Some recommendations were made by the Panel.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages58
Specialist publicationEFSA Journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements: The FAF Panel wishes to thank Claude Lambre and Lieve Herman for the support provided to this scientific output. The FAF Panel wishes to acknowledge all European competent institutions, Member State bodies and other organisations that provided data for this scientific output.


  • tartaric acid
  • sodium tartrate
  • potassium tartrate
  • calcium tartrate
  • E 334
  • E 335
  • E 336
  • E 337
  • E 354


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