E535: what you need to know about sodium ferrocyanide

sodium ferrocyanide

Food additives are substances added to marketed foodstuffs in order to improve their various qualities of conservation, organoleptic or to allow better manufacturing. There are different categories of additives and these are written on the labels in full or in the form of an EXXX code. This code also makes it possible to identify the class of these additives. Those with the code E53X belong to ferrocyanides. E535 corresponds to sodium ferrocyanide and is used mainly for its anti-caking properties.

What should I know about this additive? Where is he ? Zoom on sodium ferrocyanide.

Sodium ferrocyanide: what are its characteristics?

Ferrocyanide is an anion with the chemical formula [Fe(CN)6 ] 4–. This results in several complex salts: potassium ferrocyanide: K4[Fe(CN)6], calcium ferrocyanide: Ca2[Fe(CN)6] and finally, sodium ferrocyanide: Na4[Fe(CN)6] .

Sodium, potassium and calcium ferrocyanides are used in the food industry as food additives. They are respectively referenced with the codes E535, E536 and E538.

Sodium ferrocyanide, also called sodium yellow prussiate, comes in the form of small pale yellow crystals. These crystals are soluble in water. This is notably why it is mainly used for these synthetic anti-caking agent properties. An anti-caking agent is a substance which makes it possible to limit the agglutination of particles in a powdered product and ensures better fluidity.

These anti-caking agents are often found in the list of ingredients of industrial products. Indeed, anti-caking agents are widely used in food.

As for sodium ferrocyanide, it is less present in products on supermarket shelves because its use is limited to salt and replaces salt.

Sodium ferrocyanide: all you need to know




Anti-caking agent

Authorized in Organic


Special diets

Gluten Free



Sodium ferrocyanide: what are the known risks?

Is it dangerous for health?

Sodium ferrocyanide is considered a low toxic food additive for our body and our health. However, an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) has been set to avoid possible high dose consequences. Moreover, added to certain foods, sodium ferrocyanide can cause allergic or intolerant reactions in certain consumers. In general, it is advisable to limit the consumption of products containing a lot of additives.

What are the regulations in France?

Sodium ferrocyanide is authorized as a food additive in France but under certain conditions. A maximum quantity is fixed and authorized in food. In addition, ferrocyanides are only permitted in cooking salt and as Ersatz de sel (salt substitute) in a quantity limited to 20 mg/kg salt. A group acceptable daily intake (ADI) has been set in 2020 for the consumption of all ferrocyanides at 0.03 mg/kg of body weight per day.

In which products is it used?

Sodium ferrocyanide is present in food. It is listed in the Codex Alimentarius as an anti-caking agent and can be used in salt and its substitute products as well as in certain seasonings and condiments or other products that contain salt. The maximum amount is 20 mg/kg per product.

Main functions

Sodium ferrocyanide is used as an anti-caking agent. It is present by default in ordinary fine salt essentially in order to limit the formation of lumps which would alter the quality of the product.

Where do we find it?

Sodium ferrocyanide is found in conventional salts of all brands or in salt substitutes. This additive is also present in prepared and processed dishes where there is added salt. This is the case for example of certain industrial breads or in canned dishes.

To know if this additive is present or not, it is important to read the list of ingredients.

Learn more about sodium ferrocyanide

Sodium ferrocyanide has many other uses. Indeed, for example, when sodium ferrocyanide is combined with iron, it changes color and turns into a dark blue pigment called Prussian blue. It can then be used in the production of pigment. Other uses on its own: stabilizer for coating welding rods, elimination of chemical sulfur compounds, photographic processing, etc.

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