Sodium hydroxide

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Also known as: sodium benzosulfimide.
Commercial source: synthetic.
Used in: diet foods and beverages, processed foods, toothpaste, mouthwash.
Definition: An artificial sweetener which yields less than two calories per gram.


See sucrose.

sequestering agent

Also known as: chelating agent.
Commercial source: Typically vegetable, mineral.
Used in: soft drinks, mayonnaise, potatoes.
Examples: citric acid, EDTA, phosphoric acid.
Definition: The name for a general class of preservative which improves food quality and prevents food from changing in an undesirable way over time (e.g., changing color or developing a bad flavor).
Typically Vegan


See lac-resin.


Commercial source: animal (milk and egg).
Used in: margarine, ice cream, salad dressings, yogurt.
Definition: A fat substitute.

Production information: Monsanto Co., the creator and producer of Simplesse, uses whey protein concentrate and egg protein to make it.

soda ash

See sodium carbonate.

sodium benzoate

Commercial source: mineral-synthetic.
Used in: margarine, bottled soft drinks, maraschino cherries, mincemeat, fruit juices, pickles, confections, fruit jelly preserves, jams. Also used in the ice for cooling fish.
Definition: A very common preservative used mostly in acidic foods.

sodium bicarbonate

Also known as: baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium acid carbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate.
Commercial source: mineral.
Used in: baking powder, pancake, biscuit, and muffin mixes, crackers, cookies, soups, sherberts, frozen desserts, dry-mix beverages, soft drinks, syrups, confections, self-rising flours, cornmeals, canned vegetables, mouthwash, butter, cream, milk, ice cream.
Definition: An additive used primarily to make baked goods rise or to adjust the acidity level in foods.

sodium carbonate

Also known as: soda ash.
Commercial Source: mineral.
Used in: soups, puddings, sauces, baked goods, butter, cream, milk, ice cream, olives, cocoa products, mouthwash.
Definition: A food additive with many functions, especially as an acid regulator or flavoring agent.

sodium caseinate

Also known as: casein.
Commercial source: mineral-animal (milk).
Used in: processed meats, ice cream, sherbert, frozen desserts, nondairy whipped toppings, coffee whiteners, egg substitutes, desserts, imitation sausage, soups, stews, diet foods.
Definition: A common food additive with many food uses including whitening, whipping, and binding.

sodium hydroxide

Also known as: caustic soda, soda lye.
Commercial source: mineral.
Used in: black olives, food starch, pretzels, potatoes, fruits, vegetable oil, animal fat, sour cream, butter, cocoa products, canned vegetables.
Definition: A common industrial chemical with a wide range of food uses, such as making foods less acidic.

sodium nitrate

Also known as: Chile saltpeter.
Commercial source: mineral.
Exists in: spinach, beets, radishes, eggplant, celery, lettuce, collards, turnip greens, broccoli. Also present in large amounts in vegetables which have been heavily fertilized with nitrate fertilizers.
Used in: meat and meat products.
Definition: A preservative used to cure meats.

sodium pantothenate

See pantothenic acid.

sodium stearoyl lactylate

Commercial source: mineral-vegetable-microbial or mineral-animal (cow- or hog-derived)-microbial.
Used in: bakery mixes, baked products, dehydrated fruits and vegetables and juices made from them, frozen desserts, liquid shortenings, pancake mixes, precooked instant rice, pudding mixes, coffee whiteners, margarine.
Definition: A common food additive often used to condition dough or to blend together ingredients which do not normally blend, such as oil and water.
Typically Vegan

Production information: Archer Daniels Midland Co., a manufacturer of sodium stearoyl lactylate reports that their product is of vegetable origin; the lactic acid is produced from microbial fermentation and the stearic acid, from soy oil. Sodium is a mineral which is added.

sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate

See sodium stearoyl lactylate.

sorbic acid

Also known as: acetic acid, hexadienic acid, hexadienoic acid, sorbistat.
Commercial source: synthetic.
Used in: cheeses, beverages, baked goods, syrups, fresh fruit cocktail, dried fruit, chocolate syrup, soft drinks, macaroni salads, cheesecake, pie fillings, cakes, artificially sweetened jellies and preserves, wine, canned frosting, pickles, sauerkraut, certain meat and fish products, mouthwashes.
Definition: A mold and yeast inhibitor which is used especially in cheeses and beverages.


Commercial source: vegetable.
Used in: the manufacture of many other compounds. (See also: polysorbate, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 80).
Definition: A substance derived most often from corn and used in the manufacture of many common food additives, such as polysorbate 80. (See polysorbate 80).


Commercial source: vegetable.
Used in: candy, vegetable oils, frozen desserts, shredded coconut, sugar-free soft drinks, sugarless chewing gum.
Definition: A type of alcohol most often used as a sugar substitute.
Typically Vegan

Production information: Archer Daniels Midland Co., a manufacturer of sorbitol, uses corn as its carbohydrate source.


Also known as: thickener.
Commercial source: vegetable, synthetic.
Examples: starch, natural and synthetic gums.
Definition: The general name for a large class of additives which thickens foods or maintains a desired texture or consistency in foods.
Typically Vegan


See unmodified starch.

stearic acid

Also known as: n-octadecanoic acid.
Commercial source: vegetable, animal (cow- or hog-derived), or synthetic.
Exists in: vegetable and animal oils, animal fats, cascarilla bark extract, and in synthetic form.
Used in: butter flavoring, vanilla flavoring, chewing gum, fruit waxes, butter. Stearic acid is also used to make many other food additives. (See calcium stearate).
Definition: A common additive most often used as a binder in foods.
May Be Non-Vegetarian

Production information: Archer Daniels Midland Co., a manufacturer of stearic acid, reports that they use soybean oil. Witco Corp., one of the three largest manufacturers of stearic acid, reports that they do have a kosher stearic acid which is all-vegetable, coming from soy oil, although most of their stearic acid is animal-derived, coming from cow and hog sources. Allan Chemical Corp. reports that kosher stearic acid, and its derivatives such as calcium stearate, do not necessarily have to be vegetable-derived.


Commercial source: vegetable.
Used in: soy yogurt, puddings, breakfast cereals, cookies, pizza, veggie dogs, teas, juices, granola, mints, lozenges
Definition: Concentrated sugar cane juice available in granular, juice, and syrup forms.

Production information: Neither SucanatTM nor USDA Certified Organic SucanantTM, manufactured by Wholesome Sweeteners, is processed through a bone char filter.

succinic acid

Commercial source: synthetic or vegetable.
Exists in: fungi.

Used in: baked goods, relishes, beverages, sausage.
Definition: An additive used to control the acid level in foods and beverages.


Also known as: sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, refined sugar.
Commercial source: vegetable. Sucrose derived from sugar cane may have been processed through a cow bone filter. Sucrose derived from beet sugar has not been processed through a cow bone filter.
Used in: confections, baked goods, processed foods, condiments, beverages, breakfast cereals.
Definition: The major component of refined sugar.
May Be Non-Vegetarian

Production information: The largest cane sugar companies today, Florida Crystals and Imperial/ Savannah, use bone char to process almost all of their cane sugar. Some types (evaporated cane juice turbinado, demerera, muscovado, Jack FrostTM brand, SucanatTM, and all USDA Certified Organic sugars) are not processed with bone char.


See tallow.


See acesulfame K.

surface-active agents

Also known as: surfactants.
Commercial source: vegetable, synthetic, or animal.
Used in: cheeses, salad dressings, peanut butter, processed foods.
Example: sorbitan monostearate (See: sorbitan).
Definition: The general name for many classes of food additives. These additives have various functions such as making substances dissolve in other substances or making foods foam.
Typically Vegan

surface-finishing agents

Commercial source: vegetable, synthetic, or animal.
Used on: fruits, candies, baked goods.
Examples: beeswax, carnauba wax, shellac wax, gum acacia, paraffin. (See entries for these substances).
Definition: A general name for substances which keeps foods looking shiny and helps maintain their color.
Typically Vegetarian