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Citric Acid - Real Food or Danger?

Citric Acid - Real Food or Danger?

Let’s talk about citric acid….

Because, yes, you see it there on our ingredient list. If you are paying attention in the natural health circles, you have probably heard that it is one of the nasty things you’ve got to weed out of your life when reading labels.

You may have even wondered about where our heads were… as we talk so much about real food ingredients… and shame on you for never just asking us! We’re all family here, so let’s not ever leave an elephant to run loose in the room and not talk about it.

Is Citric Acid Safe or Hazardous?

First, let’s go over what citric acid IS and how it is used.

Citric acid is granulated, much like sugar, though finer. It is sour and tart at the same time and has preservative abilities. It is also used for flavoring- you’ll see it often in pop (soda) and candy.

Can Citric Acid Be Produced Naturally?

Citric acid, like most everything else in our processed modern life is at once a good ingredient and one that has gone horribly wrong.

Originally, it was isolated from lemon juice. This was first accomplished in 1784 and continued to be how it was done until the early 1900’s… but then along came $cience.

Can Citric Acid Be Made Synthetically?

The food and pharma industries are always looking for ways to make ingredients cheaper and more easily. This one could have been intentional or simply a lucky accident. Either way, some back-room white-coat idiot discovered that (sometimes you just have to wonder how some of these discoveries are made, don’t you??) black mold- Aspergillus niger to be exact – poops out citric acid as a by-product when it feeds on sugar. Citric acid is precipitated out of the resulting solution with lime (calcium hydroxide) and sulfuric acid (yummy!)

Eureka! The back-room white-coat-clad idiot exclaimed (actually his name was James Currie). All we have to do is produce black mold which has NO concern for toxicity whatsoever (note sarcasm) and feed it on any old cheap sugar product we can find! Pfizer for some reason was really excited about this and quickly took over industrial production of the new form of citric acid. And since everything Pfizer makes can be trusted (ahem, more sarcasm), we can all rest assured that our soda, medications, USDA approved meat (seriously, any meat that comes through these facilities is sprayed with the stuff), candy and other assorted goodies won’t cause any problems.

Does Citric Acid Mess With Your Stomach?

Except… there do appear to be some problems with consuming citric acid produced by black mold. In fact, it appears that we can see the following:

Why On Earth Does Soda Farm Use It?

Well… it’s not what you think.

When we started making syrups for soda, we wanted to use small amounts of good quality sugar. This meant that we couldn’t rely on the sugar content to do the job of preserving as many do when making syrups. We needed something else to help… but what could do that and still be a clean, food source?

Citric acid was the obvious answer, so we did some digging. In the end, we found a partner that could give us a sworn affidavit attesting to the fact that their citric acid comes only from lemons. That affidavit was critical for us to have when we applied for our organic certification (which we decided to let lapse a few years later… that’s a conversation for another time).

There are no known issues with eating citric acid that is found in citrus fruit, even if eating too much… and in the case of our syrups, you will only find tiny amounts.

There, I feel better. Do you feel better? If you’re just hearing about citric acid and how most all of it on the market is made… maybe you don’t feel so good at all. Sorry.

But… as you label read, please do be aware that not all citric acid is created equally. Ours is real-food based… many others are not… and now you know.

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  • “Thank you for the helpful info. but how can i find a vitamin c supplement that is made with the “clean” ascorbic acid?"

    Melissa, unfortunately, that’s not an easy thing. We had to ask a LOT of questions to decide on the citric acid we would use for our syrups. That process was assisted because at the time we were applying for our organic certification and we HAD to have a certificate from the supplier that stated the citric acid came from fruit and was clean. I think you’ll have to ask the companies directly.

  • Thank you for the helpful info. but how can i find a vitamin c supplement that is made with the “clean” ascorbic acid?

  • Back door, white lab idiot. Hahahaha love it and really enjoyed this read.
    Once again, THANKS

    Kathy Dice

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