"Anti-caking agent"

4/16/2010 12:33:00 PM

 A couple of my friends at work and I were discussing cheese this morning.

(Of course we were.)

That said, my friend tells me that her sister told her (still following?) that there is an anti-caking agent in sprinkle (shredded) cheese.

What? What is this agent?

As it turns out, the agent operates just as you would imagine: it works to disallow fraternization of the cheese pieces. "You may not stick together, cheese!"

This would explain the difference between cheese you shred at home and the store-bought pre-shredded stuff.

Anti-caking agents are also found in:
  • vending machine powders (coffee, cocoa, soup)
  • milk and cream powders
  • grated cheese
  • icing sugar
  • baking powder
  • cake mixes
  • instant soup powders
  • drinking chocolate
  • table salt 
The most used anti-caking agents are silicon dioxide (E551) and calcium silicate (E552), sodium aluminosilicate (E554) and dicalcium phosphate (E341). Natural products such as talc, kaolin, potato starch and microcrystalline cellulose (E460) are also used.

What is silicon dioxide? It's silica which is found in sand and glass, I believe. (Craig? Glass blower?) Learn more here.

Hmmm... it be crazy what's in our food.
Thank you for inspiration for this post, D.


  1. Only Brenda could know this. Well and Craig.

  2. I agree, sister.

    (I'm hungry for cake.)

  3. Seriously, I thought this post was gonna be about cake! Anti-caking agents, huh? Yeah, that freaks me out a little.

  4. Funny, A. and I were just talking about anti-caking agent stuff in cheese. I think our conversation was centered on that it is cheaper to shred your own cheese, but we talked about the extra stuff in shredded cheese.


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