Tara Gum

What is tara gum?

Tara gum is a viscous soluble fiber extracted from the legume tree Caesalpinia spinosa, native to Peru [1,3]. It is an indigestible carbohydrate, a polysaccharide composed of galactose and mannose (galactomannan).

Tara Gum as a Food Additive

Tara gum is used as a thickener and stabilizer in dairy products (ice cream, cheese, cream, yogurt), tortillas, canned vegetables and legumes and other foods. It is currently not used in the U.S. In the European Union, it is labeled as E number E417 [2]. It is also approved in Australia and New Zealand [4].

Tara Gum Safety and Side Effects

Tara gum is currently not listed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it has “Adequate Daily Intake (ADI) not specified” status by JECFA, which is the highest safety category [3]. Toxnet has reported no toxic effects related to tara gum [1].

Consumption of large amounts may result in abdominal bloating and excessive gas (flatulence).

Tara gum is vegan and gluten-free [4].

Related Nutrients

2 Responses to "Tara Gum"

  1. Jose says:

    Dear sirs, other sources in Internet says TARA GUM IS GRAS,
    so can you verify your assertion that it is not?

    Regards-

    • Jan Modric says:

      Jose, it is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US that determines which food is GRAS. I’ve checked 4 FDA.gov sources and tara gum is not listed on any GRAS list: source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4.

      Another FDA.gov page says that a substance can be GRAS even if not listed by FDA: “Because the use of a GRAS substance is not subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, it is impracticable to list all substances that are used in food on the basis of the GRAS provision (21 CFR 182.1). The use of a substance is GRAS because of widespread knowledge among the community of qualified experts, not because of a listing or other administrative activity.”

      The international food supplier FoodChem claims tara gum is GRAS by FDA, but I can’t find the original FDA source.

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