A naturally occurring amino acid that is produced from human hair, bird feathers, animal hair or synthesised for use in food products.

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The function(s) performed by the food additive when used in cooking.

  • Flour treatment agent - A substance that improves baking quality or colour of flour

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Data according to various sources such as fao, fda, codex. Spot a mistake? Tell us!

Country Status Matched Term
United States
Approved Cysteine (l-form); Cysteine (l-form) monohydrochloride
European Union
Approved L-Cysteine
Australia and New Zealand
Approved L-cysteine monohydrochloride
France
Approved L­-cystéine
Afghanistan
Unknown None
Philippines
Not Permitted
Austria
Approved L-Cysteine
Belgium
Approved L-Cysteine
Bulgaria
Approved L-Cysteine
Cyprus
Approved L-Cysteine
Czech Republic
Approved L-Cysteine
Denmark
Approved L-Cysteine
Estonia
Approved L-Cysteine
Finland
Approved L-Cysteine
Germany
Approved L-Cysteine
Greece
Approved L-Cysteine
Hungary
Approved L-Cysteine
Ireland
Approved L-Cysteine
Italy
Approved L-Cysteine
Latvia
Approved L-Cysteine
Lithuania
Approved L-Cysteine
Luxembourg
Approved L-Cysteine
Malta
Approved L-Cysteine
Netherlands
Approved L-Cysteine
Poland
Approved L-Cysteine
Portugal
Approved L-Cysteine
Romania
Approved L-Cysteine
Slovakia
Approved L-Cysteine
Slovenia
Approved L-Cysteine
Spain
Approved L-Cysteine
Sweden
Approved L-Cysteine
United Kingdom
Approved L-Cysteine
Australia
Approved L-cysteine monohydrochloride
New Zealand
Approved L-cysteine monohydrochloride

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Derived from animal products - yes

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Flour treatment agent derived from animal hair and chicken feathers

DFlock

Halal - maybe

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Miscellaneous - Compounds used to treat Flour L-Cysteine from human hair is Haram. L-Cysteine from chicken feathers is not Halal. L-Cysteine from fermentation and synthetic source is Halal.

Muslim Consumer Group

Derived from animal products - yes

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Flour treatment agent derived from animal hair and chicken feathers. If from China - human hair. Used in shampoo and chicken flavouring. Bread enhancer. It stabilises the structure of leavened bread. Aid to detoxification of many chemicals related to smoking, prevent hangovers and also prevent brain and liver damage due to alcohol consumption. Useful for rheumatoid arthritis, helps the immune system and promotes healing. Is a known neurotoxin.

MBM Foods

Derived from minerals - yes

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Possible chelation (removal) of minerals.

Angelfire-Food Intolerance, Allergies and Adverse Reactions

Genetically engineered - yes

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Classically, cysteine is won from proteins that are rich in cystine, such as are found in human hair or in feathers or pig bristles. The protein components are split into individual amino acids by being heated with hydrochloric acid. The cystine that hereby is isolated then is electrochemically reduced to cysteine. For a long time, the bio-technological production of cysteine was considered to be expensive and difficult. Since then, a German company (Wacker Chemie) has been successful in applying biotechnical processes to E. coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria for a profitable fermentative production of cysteine. The E. coli bacteria use glucose (sugar) and some mineral salts to produce the desired cysteine in large quantities and convey the amino acid into the nutrient solution. The process has been applied since 2001. The yield of such bio-technical production of cysteine is approximately 30 per cent higher than in the classical procedure. Additionally, the quantity of hydrochloric acid necessary for the bio-technical method is only four percent of the quantity that otherwise has been required.

GMO Compass

Derived from animal products - yes

E920 - Cysteine, L- and its hydrochlorides – sodium and potassium salts: Produced commercially from animal and human hair (and feathers). When produced from animal hair it is almost certain that all L-cysteine is taken from slaughtered animals. When human hair is used it is often sourced from women in third-world countries. L-cysteine is used as an additive in around 5% of bread and other bakery products. It is not used in wholemeal bread or other wholemeal bakery products.

Vegetarian Network Victoria

2-Amino-3-mercaptopropionic acid
alpha-Amino-beta-mercaptopropionic acid
alpha-Amino-beta-thiolpropionic acid
L-beta-Mercaptoalanine
L-cysteine hydrocholoride
L­-cystéine
Chlorhydrate de L-cystéine

Collection of sources used to create this food additive summary.

Source
Codex Alimentarius
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives)
UK Food Guide
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Lists the U.S. CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) registry number and EINECS (European INventory of Existing Commercial chemical Substances) numbers when known.

  • CAS Number: 52-90-4
  • EINECS Number: 200-158-2

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