E466 - Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose (Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose)

Published on: 06/01/2022 | Last Updated: 28/05/2022
E466 - Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose (Sodium Carboxy Methyl Cellulose)

Characteristics: Carboxy methyl cellulose is a stabilizer that preserves and improves the consistency and viscosity of food products. In industry (outside the food industry) it is used in quality


Carboxymethylcellulose is prepared from cellulose, a basic polysaccharide and a component of wood and all plant structures. For the commercial network it is prepared from wood and chemically modified.
Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose is an organic substance made by chemical synthesis and available in the form of a white or cream powder. Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose is widely used for thickener number E466.


Carboxymethylcellulose is a stabilizer that preserves and improves the consistency and viscosity of food products. In industry (other than food) it is used as a plasticizer and thickener. It has the structure of a colorless amorphous substance and is a weak acid, representing an ionic polymer electrolyte.
Carboxymethylcellulose dissolves well in water, is non-toxic and has no strong odor, is unaffected by the adverse effects of light and is insoluble in oils.


The additive E-466 is used in the food industry in the production

  • mayonnaise;
  • ice cream;
  • cottage cheese products;
  • desserts;
  • creams;
  • jelly products;
  • casings for meat and fish products;
  • sweets.

Side Effects

Carbomethyl cellulose is highly soluble and can ferment in the large intestine.
High concentrations can cause intestinal problems such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea. The substance also slightly lowers blood cholesterol levels.

Dietary restrictions

E-466 can be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians.

Opinion on the use of certain additives (Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose (Sodium carboxy methyl cellulose E-466)) in baby foods and infants March 1997 and corrected on 13 June 1997) and also published on the website of the European Union reads:
The Committee for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) requires the use of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose at levels up to 10 g / l for liquid foods given after birth and at levels up to 10 g / kg for solid foods. These products are designed for metabolic disorders such as congenital abnormalities in fatty acid metabolism. The Committee was informed that the substance acts as a thickening, gel-forming and solvating factor, which contributes to a lower sensation of "sand" in the mouth.

Earlier, the Committee maintained its opinion on the application for the use of E-466 for ablation foods until it has completed its work on the absorption of macromolecular additives, but notes that overall toxicological data show no effects to worry for infants and young children. children over the age of weaning. However, the Committee was informed that sodium carboxymethyl cellulose in the water was in a colloidal state and could not be absorbed.


The Committee considers that the use of sodium carboxymethyl cellulose is acceptable for special medical purposes at levels up to 10 g / l for liquid foods and at levels up to 10 g / kg for solid foods.


Required products & maximum level of use

Opinion: foods for special medical purposes for babies and young children


Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose E-466 
(Page 13)


Foods for special medical purposes

10g / l (liquid) 10g / kg (solid)

 Admissible from birth under appropriate conditions of use

More on the topic:
  • E464 Hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose
  • E461 Methyl cellulose
  • E469 Enzymatically hydrolyzed carboxy methyl cellulose
  • E465 Ethyl methyl cellulose

This is not entire article. It continues ...


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