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Label Able: Tricalcium Phosphate

I like to read food labels; I find them fascinating, especially when the list of ingredients seems long enough to contain a plot character development. As a general rule, I try to steer clear of foods made with ingredients that have lengthy confusing names. When researching for the yogurt breakdown, I saw tricalcium phosphate on the Dannon yogurt label. The name reminded me of sodium bicarbonate, aka baking soda, but I was fairly certain these two ingredients are not related at all.

I did a little poking around and found that tricalcium phosphate is calcium salt of citric acid. It's added to foods to act as a firming or anti-caking agent, or as an acidity regulator. Companies also add it to their products to increase the calcium content (Dannon told me this when I phoned them). That's why calcium supplements sometimes contain tricalcium phosphate as well. You may find this ingredient in foods such as dairy products, wine, carbonated beverages, powdered spices, candy and jams. Reduced fat liquid foods may also contain this ingredient, to add smoothness and an opaque color.

Want to hear more about this ingredient? Then


The funny thing is, Dannon Fruit Blends Yogurt (which contains tricalcium phosphate) has 20 percent calcium, and Stonyfield Farms Fat Free Yogurt (which doesn't contain this ingredient), has 30 percent calcium. If tricalcium phosphate is being added to increase the amount of calcium, then shouldn't Dannon have more? It just doesn't make sense. Also, it seems that tricalcium phosphate is used in a lot of processed foods that contain some not-so-healthy ingredients (what's with the red 40 and high fructose corn syrup in the Dannon yogurt?). So for that reason, I think I'll stick to foods made with actual food ingredients.

Join The Conversation
docin02 docin02 3 years
As a chemical operator/engineer who works at a food grade chemical plant manufacturing TCP,DCP, DMP, TKP, STTP, and many other products, I know the source of the raw materials and uses for all these products. TCP is made from combining water, phosphoric acid(which we used to make ourselves from soda ash, but now its purchased), hydrated lime(calcium hydroxide), and acetic acid. This is then charged to form small crystals and the slurry is then heated by one of a couple different manufacturing processes,(we use drum dryers). Most of the water evaporates(final product shoulld be about 2% water by volume), and the final product is a light, slightly fluffy powder. It is used as a flow agent(prevents clumping) in products such as cocoa powder. Its also used in many baking products, pharmaceuticals, pet foods, spices, and is used to remove flouride from water in filtration systems. Its also called hydroxyapatite, and is a good source of calcium, though not as readily absorbed as say calcium carbonate or calcium citrate.
boomerbaby10 boomerbaby10 5 years
Here is my concern. My cousin was in a treatment center and was told to avoid Tricalcium Phosphate. He wanted to pass that on. I got the message but didn't speak to him myself. He is gone now and I wonder what it was about. Since then I have been reading labels and avoid half of everything with a label because this is some kind of cheap additive since it's so prevalent.
Go2Girl Go2Girl 5 years
Good to know Fit! I know yogurt is one of those foods that can have a lot of sugar among other things that are not so good for you. 
ratherlargepie ratherlargepie 5 years
T hrough this article I have learned two things. 1. Tricalcium Phosphate is a naturally occuring chemical. 2. You obviously don't know much about chemistry.
BDJames243 BDJames243 5 years
If you don't believe me look it up
BDJames243 BDJames243 5 years
Red 40 is made from petroleum if you didn't know. Its where they get the carbon to make the color. There has been links to getting cancer from ingesting certain colors. Red 40 has been linked to anger management problems
fanef fanef 5 years
Was there ever an answer posted to this question? I looked up "what is tricalcium phosphate, because it is the #2 ingredient in the weight-loss product, Sensa. I was trying to find out WHAT it does. This discussion has not mentioned anything helpful to me on the subject. The #1 ingredient by the way was maltodextrin.
Marcia-Swartz Marcia-Swartz 7 years
Also, Tricalcium Phosphate produced by my company has nothing to do with animal bones! It is food grade, Kosher certified, Halal certified and soon to be Organically Certified. Perhaps YOU should poke around a little more. It is used in food, pet food, chocolate, sugars, flours, cosmetics, body powders, cheese, all kinds of dry mixes, yogurts, soy milk, ice cream etc. It is also used for oral care and tablet manufacturing, and review is under way to use tricalcium phosphate in conjunction with insulin to give our diabetic friends an oral option for their insulin.
Marcia-Swartz Marcia-Swartz 7 years
Tricalcium Phosphate is an effective way to get calcium enrichment without adding saturated fat. Tricalcium Phosphate also helps to maximize calcium absorption in the body instead of it just flushing through the system. The entire Calcium Phosphate family is used in our foods. Mono, Di and Tri. Trical is used as a flow agent in many "lite" or "fat-free" yogurts to mantain the texture that we all enjoy without the clumping that would occur without the fat content.
lunaruby lunaruby 8 years
First of all, yogurt is a dairy product and therefore has calcium without adding anything. I think it's used in this product as an anti-caking agent, although how do all the other yogurt brands manage then, without it? Just fine, I think. Secondly, the ingredient you should really be concerned with is the insidious high fructose corn syrup - the crack cocaine of the food industry. So many people are not concerned when they see this ingredient because they see it in everything and think "it can't be so bad then". That speaks volumes about the FDA. Also, believing that, because is it originated from corn, it is natural, is a horrible misconception. This ingredient is engineered. It is a super-sugar and a major contributor to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity in this county. Sad they have now tainted something so healthy and innocent as yogurt.
kia kia 9 years
I wonder if the tricalcium phosphate is in a form that is usable by the body? If it is not usable by the body then it would not show in the total calcium in the food label.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Maybe the Dannon would have had even less Ca without the Ca3PO4, but that's just my theory. I wonder if Stoneyfield farms maybe uses a different Ca supplement in their yogurt...calcium carbonate is also sometimes added to foods to add calcium.
boop11 boop11 9 years
"tricalcium phosphate is calcium salt of citric acid." I love this site but when I see glaring mistakes it makes we wonder about how accurate the information is on this site. They are not the same things.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
I like their all natural yogurt.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
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