Re-evaluation of soybean hemicellulose (E 426) as a food additive

soybean hemicellulose, E 426, food additive
First published in the EFSA Journal
14 March 2017
26 January 2017
Scientific Opinion

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of soybean hemicellulose (E 426) as a food additive. Soybean hemicellulose is not absorbed intact, but is extensively fermented by the intestinal microflora in animals and humans. No adverse effects were reported in a 90-day dietary toxicity study in rats at the highest doses tested of 2,430 mg/kg body weight (bw) per day for males and 2,910 mg/kg bw per day for females. Furthermore, soybean hemicellulose is not of genotoxic concern. The highest exposure estimates calculated based on the maximum permitted levels were up to 191 mg/kg bw per day for children (95th percentile). Given the limited uses, if any, reported, the Panel considered it probable that the actual dietary exposure to soybean hemicellulose (E 426) would be negligible. Following the conceptual framework for the risk assessment of certain food additives, the Panel concluded that it is very unlikely that there is a safety concern from the current use of soybean hemicellulose (E 426) as a food additive, and that there is no need for a numerical acceptable daily intake (ADI). The Panel recommended that the amount of residual proteins in E 426 should be reduced as much as possible, and that consumers should be informed of the presence of potentially allergenic proteins in the food additive.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Fernando Aguilar, Riccardo Crebelli, Alessandro Di Domenico, Birgit Dusemund, Maria Jose Frutos, Pierre Galtier, David Gott, Ursula Gundert-Remy, Claude Lambré, Jean-Charles Leblanc, Oliver Lindtner, Peter Moldeus, Alicja Mortensen, Pasquale Mosesso, Agneta Oskarsson, Dominique Parent-Massin, Ivan Stankovic, Ine Waalkens-Berendsen, Rudolf Antonius Woutersen, Matthew Wright and Maged Younes.
Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2017;15(3):4721
Question Number
On request from
European Commission