EDTA in Food


EDTA or ethylene diaminetetra acetic acid is a chelating amino acid that removes various heavy metals from the body. It does this by binding up the ions of the metals by connecting to the ions with six bonds. The process of chelation renders the metals useless and they are dissolved and flushed out of the body in the urine. EDTA comes in different grades that are used for various reasons, including a food grade compound that is added to foods as they are processed.

Soft Fatty Food Products

Salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces and soft spreadable margarine have EDTA added for a number of reasons. EDTA has the ability to keep the product from going bad or losing its taste and flavour, thereby keeping the product on the shelf for a longer period of time. Copper and iron are ionic metals that are found in dressings and sauces like mayonnaise, margarine and salad dressing and have the potential to create problems because they will degrade the fats and oils over time, which then alters the flavour of the product and makes it unpalatable and unusable. The addition of EDTA to the product allows the copper and iron to be trapped and made inert, preventing any reactions that would cause issues.


Because beans are commercially packaged in metal tins, EDTA is added during the processing phase to make sure there is no metallic taste. EDTA bonds to the metals, separating them from the rest of the product, and renders them inactive. By doing this, any metallic odour or taste is prevented and the bean product is made palatable. EDTA is not usually listed as an ingredient on canned goods, but black-eyed peas, white beans and kidney beans contain food grade EDTA when commercially processed and canned.


In cooked canned shrimp and crabmeat, EDTA retards struvite formation while also promoting colour retention.  It also promotes colour retention in cooked conned clams and inhibits discolouration in the packaging and gefilte fish balls and patties.


Milk products, beer and soft drinks are made with EDTA additives. The purpose of adding EDTA to soft drinks is to keep the carbonation active so the drink will not go flat and the flavour won’t be lost prior to the opening of the can or bottle.  It is also added to soft drinks containing ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate, to lessen the formation of benzene, which is carcinogenic. EDTA is added to regular milk to preserve the flavour. In condensed milk in cans, it is used to prevent the milk from getting too thick. The reason for adding EDTA to beer during brewing is to prevent the beer from gushing. Gushing is a term used when beer ends up bubbly or effervescent, which ruins the batch.


In pickled cabbage and cucumbers, edta promotes colour, flavour and texture retention.  It also promotes colour and flavour retention of spice extracts in soluble carriers.  For Potato salad and hard boiled whole eggs, it acts as a preservative.  In pecan pie filling, canned strawberry pie filling and ready to eat cereal products containing dried bannanas, it promotes colour retention, and in non nutritive sweeteners it acts as a sequestrant.


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How to Rejuvenate an Old SLA Battery With EDTA

A lead acid battery is, most commonly, a 12 volt battery with a series of six cells. Each cell contains a positive lead oxide plate and a negative lead plate and is filled with a solution of sulphuric acid. As the battery is used, the positive plate reacts with the sulphuric acid and produces lead ions in the water. The lead ions combine with the sulphate ions in the sulphuric acid to form lead sulphate. As the lead sulphate coats the plates, the battery is less effective and will eventually fail. Treating the battery with an acid called EDTA will remove the sulphating and prevent future sulphating.

Things You will Need:

  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
  • Teaspoon


  1. For an average sized battery, dissolve 30g (6 teaspoons) EDTA in deionised water. (5g for each cell)
  2. Add this solution equally to each cell.
  3. Agitate the battery frequently for the next couple of days and use the vehicle regularly. Do not charge the battery completely during this time.
  4. Charge the battery thoroughly after a couple of days. You should see increased performance from this point on, as the EDTA frees the plates of lead sulphate that has been coating the plates.


  • Do not try to dissolve the EDTA directly in the battery acid
  • Remove a small amount of acid before you add the solution
  • This is not a permanent fix, but it will extend the life of your battery

Where to Buy EDTA online UK


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What is EDTA?

EDTA, also known as disodium EDTA, EDTA disodium or ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid, is a widely used chemical compound found in personal care, skin care, processed foods, cosmetic preparations and cleaning products. EDTA has extensive medical, engineering, agricultural and industrial applications as well. With its wide range of uses and frequent presence in our everyday lives, it is important to know about the purpose of EDTA, how it is used and if there are any dangers involved in its use.

  • Industrial cleaning: complexation of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions, binding of heavy metals.
  • Detergents: complexation of Ca2+ and Mg2+ (reduction of water hardness).
  • Photography: use of Fe(III)EDTA as oxidizing agent.
  • Pulp and paper industry: complexation of heavy metals during chlorine-free bleaching, stabilization of hydrogen peroxide.
  • Textile industry: complexation of heavy metals, bleach stabilizer.
  • Hydroponics: iron-EDTA is used to make iron more soluble in nutrient solutions.

More specialised uses of EDTA are:

  • Food: added as preservative to prevent catalytic oxidation by metal ions or stabilizer and for iron fortification.
  • Approved by the FDA as a preservative in packaged foods, vitamins, and baby food.
  • Personal care: added to cosmetics to improve product stability.
  • Oil production: added into the borehole to inhibit mineral precipitation.
  • Dairy and beverage industry: cleaning milk stains from bottles.
  • Flue gas cleaning: removal of NOx.
  • Dentistry as a root canal irrigant to remove organic and inorganic debris.
  • Soft drinks containing ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate, to lessen the formation of benzene (a carcinogen).
  • Recycling: rejuvenate old lead acid batteries.


  • EDTA is used in chelation therapy for acute hypocalcaemia, mercury poisoning and lead poisoning.
  • Combined with chromium, EDTA is used to evaluate kidney function. It is administered intravenously and its filtration into the urine is monitored. This method is considered the gold standard for evaluating glomerular filtration rate, Cr-EDTA’s sole way out of the body is via glomerular filtration as it is not secreted or metabolised in any other way.
  • Used as anticoagulant for blood samples
  • In veterinary ophthalmology EDTA may be used as an anticollagenase to prevent the worsening of corneal ulcers in animals.

In laboratory science, EDTA is also used for:

  • Scavenging metal ions: in biochemistry and molecular biology, ion depletion is commonly used to inactivate metal-dependent enzymes which could damage DNA or proteins
  • Complexometric titrations.
  • Buffer solutions.
  • Determination of water hardness.
  • EDTA may be used as a masking agent to remove a metal ion which would interfere with the analysis of a second metal ion present
  • An anticoagulant in medical and laboratory equipment.
  • A preservative (usually to enhance the action of another preservative such as benzalkonium or thiomersal) in ocular preparations and eye drops.
  • A titrant used to determine nickel concentration in an electroless nickel plating bath.
  • In metallography to remove staining due to etchants. Metal oxides are removed by gently swabbing with EDTA and rinsing in water.

Where to buy EDTA online


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