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Glutamates and food

(July 2017)

Glutamic acid is an amino acid, naturally produced in humans and occurring in free form, for example, in tomatoes, soy sauce or certain cheeses.
Glutamates are added to a wide range of foods to enhance their flavour by giving them a “savoury” or “meaty” taste.

Current permissions in Australia and New Zealand

Food additives are approved for use in Australia and New Zealand only if it can be shown no harmful effects are likely to result from their use. FSANZ conducts pre-market safety assessments on all food additives and monitors relevant scientific developments.
Glutamic acid and glutamates (E 620-625) are authorised food additives in the EU and Australia and New Zealand in line with good manufacturing practice (GMP). This means that a food manufacturer can use a food additive only up to the limit that achieves its specific purpose.
FSANZ is aware of the recently published scientific opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on glutamic acid and glutamates added to food. The opinion does not raise new safety issues not considered as a part of the FSANZ assessment.

Additional information

EFSA reviews safety of glutamates added to food (July 2017)

FSANZ: Additives overview

JECFA: Acceptable daily intake database



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