The Select Committee has found no data suggesting that the use of sodium or potassium hydroxides, as currently practiced in food processing, is hazardous to consumers. The corrosive effect of ingestion of large amounts of strong alkalis such as sodium and potassium hydroxides has been amply demonstrated. However, these alkalis are not present as such in foods as consumed. The small amounts added for pH adjustment during food processing react rapidly with food acids to form neutral salts. Moreover, any free alkali that might be present in food, either from direct addition or from migration from packaging materials, is rapidly converted to neutral salts in the stomach.
The amounts of sodium and potassium hydroxide used in food processing contribute only 2 to 5 percent of the total sodium and potassium intake from all dietary sources. Accordingly, these alkais, as now used in food processing, do not add significantly to the usual dietary load of sodium and potassium.
In light of the foregoing, and the information elsewhere in this report, the Select Committee concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect a hazard to the public, when they are used at levels that are now current or that might reasonably be expected in the future.
There is no evidence in the available information on sodium hydroxide that demonstrates, or suggests, reasonable grounds to suspect a hazard to the public when it is used as an ingredient of food packaging materials in the manner now practiced or that might reasonably be expected in the future.