Re‐evaluation of sulphuric acid and its sodium, potassium, calcium and ammonium salts (E 513, 514 (i), 514 (ii), 515 (i), 515 (ii), 516 and 517) as food additive

sulphate, sulphuric acid, food additive, safety, risk assessment, dietary exposure
First published in the EFSA Journal
30 October 2019
24 September 2019
Scientific Opinion


The Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF) provided a scientific opinion re‐evaluating the safety of sulphuric acid (E 513) and its sodium (E 514), potassium (E 515), calcium (E 516) and ammonium (E 517) salts when used as a food additive. The Panel considered that adequate exposure and toxicity data were available. Sulphuric acid and its sodium, potassium, calcium and ammonium salts (E 513, E 514, E 515, E 516, E 517) are authorised food additives in the EU, in accordance with Annex II and Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008. In the refined estimated exposure non brand‐loyal scenario, mean exposure ranged from 0.4 mg sulphate/kg body weight (bw) per day in infants to 35 mg sulphate/kg bw per day in toddlers. The high percentile of exposure ranged from 3 mg sulphate/kg bw per day in adolescents to 68 mg sulphate/kg bw per day in toddlers. The Panel considered sulphates of low acute toxicity and there is no concern with respect to genotoxicity and carcinogenicity. The Panel noted that the exposure to sulphates at mean and 95th percentile in the non brand‐loyal scenario as well as in the other scenarios, is far below the 300 mg/kg a dose that induced laxative effect in humans. Based on the toxicological database available, the Panel concluded that the exposure to sulphuric acid (E 513), sodium sulphate (E 514), potassium sulphates (E 515), calcium sulphate (E 516) and ammonium sulphate (E 517) does not raise a safety concern at the reported uses and use levels and there is no need for a numerical acceptable daily intake (ADI).

Panel members at the time of adoption

Gabriele Aquilina, Laurence Castle, Karl‐Heinz Engel, Paul Fowler, Maria Jose Frutos Fernandez, Peter Fürst, Rainer Gürtler, Ursula Gundert‐Remy, Trine Husøy, Wim Mennes, Peter Moldeus, Agneta Oskarsson, Romina Shah, Ine Waalkens‐Berendsen, Detlef Wölfle and Maged Younes.
Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2019;17(10):5868
On request from
European Commission