Sources of Food Ingredients: Gum Acacia
- What is gum acacia?
Also known as gum arabic, gum acacia consists of the hardened sap of the Senegalia (Senegal) and Vachellia (Seyal) species of the acacia tree.
- How is gum acacia made?
Gum acacia is sourced from acacia tree sap and ground into a powder.
- Why is gum acacia in my food?
Gum acacia is used as a food stabilizer, emulsifier or thickener, improving the texture of food products without affecting other qualities such as taste.
- What foods and beverages contain gum acacia?
Gum acacia can be found in wine, chewing gum, yogurts, sodas, soups, baked goods, dried egg products, seasoned and coated nuts, dairy products and sugar-free candies.
- Is gum acacia permitted for use in the U.S. and in other countries?
Gum acacia is considered Generally Recognized As Safe or GRAS under to the Food and Drug Administration’s code of federal regulations. Gum acacia is permitted for use under the Good Manufacture Practices in the Unites States, in the Middle East, Europe, and West Africa.
- Can gum acacia be used in foods marketed as organic, vegetarian, halal or kosher?
Yes, gum acacia is permitted in foods marketed as organic in the United States. It may also be used in products labelled as vegetarian, vegan, halal, and kosher.
- How does gum acacia benefit my health?
In the United States, FDA does not include gum acacia in its definition of dietary fibers that are disclosed in nutrition labeling. However, food labeling regulations in some countries do allow gum acacia to count toward dietary fiber. Dietary fibers, as a group, have positive physiologic effects on digestion, intestinal motility, health promotion and disease risk reduction.
- Why is gum acacia necessary in foods?
Gum acacia is used in foods and beverages because it acts as an emulsifier, texturing and film forming agent, dietary fiber and stabilizer. Its qualities are consistent, which makes it very popular in the food industry.
- How does the production and use of gum acacia impact the environment?
Gum acacia has a positive impact on the environment. Acacia trees nourish the soil by fixing nitrogen and restoring fertility. The trees give shelter and shade to farmers and farm animals, while naturally producing gum acacia. The trees are sustainable and prevent desertification.
- How does gum acacia make food more affordable?
Gum acacia makes foods more affordable through its ability to act as an emulsifier and stabilizing agent. This makes foods last longer. It is also a sustainable additive which makes it cheaper to use than other, more expensive, alternatives.
- Does gum acacia contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
No, gum acacia does not contain genetically modified organisms.
- Is gum acacia safe for children?
Yes, gum acacia is safe for children.
- How long has gum acacia been used in foods?
Acacia gum has been used in foods since the Stone Age in the Sahara and as an adhesive in Africa, at least 70,000 years ago.