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Tween 80 and Span 80: Are they safe?

Posted by James on 04/30/2017 | Comment

Tween 80 belongs to a class of food additives also known as Polysorbates. Span 80 or Sorbitan monooleate is a Sorbitan Ester widely used in food products and oral pharmaceuticals.

Both are considered a non-ionic surface active agent**. And, are listed in the USP/NF, BP, EP, etc., as an approved pharmaceutical excipient for use in oral preparations.

Tween 80 and Span 80 are approved for use in specific food products and are generally recognized as safe (GRAS). They are well tolerated upon oral administration and are practically non irritating, possessing very low toxicity potential.

Tween 80 and Span 80 are generally regarded as non-toxic and non-irritating.

The acceptable daily intake (ADI) of both Tween 80 and Span 80 per the WHO is set at 25 mg per kilogram of body weight, which means an adult weighing 70 kilos could consume 1,750 mg of Tween 80 daily on a long term chronic basis without any toxic potential. Remember there is a huge safety factor built into the WHO ADI recommendation. Furthermore, Q-Gel contains only a miniscule amount of Span.

Tween 80 is approved for use in Australia, U.K., Brazil, China, Czech Republic, European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, USA, and many other countries.

Based on their safety record, Polysorbates are also approved for use in parenteral products. As a food additive, Tween 80 is used in: Ice Creams, Pickles, Vitamins/Mineral Preparations, Shortenings, Whipped Toppings, Gelatin Desserts,Cottage Cheese, Barbecue Sauce, etc.

Customer Question: A customer asked: “are there any bovine based fats or proteins in the Tween 80”. The answer we received from the manufacturer follows: “There is NO residual animal fat or protein in the Polysorbate 80”, (Tween 80), “The reaction is designed to go to completion, which means that all the starting materials are fully reacted with no free fatty acid remaining.”

**Also known as a wetting agent, solubilizing agent, or emulsifying agent.