Fumaric acid is a common food additive included in many processed foods to keep them stable and to add tartness. The substance has a more sour flavor than citric acid, another common food additive. Fumaric acid occurs naturally in fumitory, bolete mushrooms, lichen and Iceland moss. As an additive, fumaric acid is produced synthetically, mainly from malic acid from apples. Fumaric acid as an additive is regulated under the Codex Alimentarius General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA), a collection of internationally recognized standards.
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Fumaric acid is included in many dairy-based products. These include dairy drinks such as chocolate milk, cocoa, eggnog, condensed milk and whey protein beverages. It also may be added to clotted cream, milk and cream powders and milk and cream analogues (substitutes). Fumaric acid is added to cheese products, including processed cheese and cheese substitutes. Dairy-based desserts, such as pudding, flavored yogurt, sherbet and sorbet may include fumaric acid as well. Dairy fat spreads and blended spreads can include fumaric acid, and so can preserved eggs and egg-based desserts such as custard.
Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds
Fumaric acid is added to some processed fruits and vegetables, including dried, canned, frozen and cooked versions. The processed vegetable category includes not only standard green and yellow vegetables but also mushrooms, root vegetables, legumes, aloe vera and seaweed. Processed nuts and seeds also may include fumaric acid, and so may nut and seed spreads.
Baked Foods and Grains
Baked foods, sweet confections and certain grain products may include fumaric acid. These include candy, sweet baked foods, snack foods, breakfast cereals and pre-cooked pasta and noodles. Starch-based desserts such as rice pudding and tapioca pudding also may contain fumaric acid, and so can batter products for coating chicken, fish or vegetables.
Processed Meats and Mixed Foods
Processed meats, salads and other dishes might contain fumaric acid. Sandwich spreads and lunch meats, along with canned meat, poultry and fish may have this additive. Soup and broth, as well as soy products, also can contain fumaric acid. Processed salads such as potato or macaroni salad may contain fumaric acid.
Beverages and Condiments
Fumaric acid is allowed as an additive in alcoholic beverages, including spirits, beer, malt beverages, hard cider, wine, wine coolers and low-alcohol beverages. It also is added to certain condiments including mustard, vinegar, sauces and sweeteners.