Is 481 vegan?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is 481 vegan?” and will discuss its composition and properties.

Is 481 vegan?

Maybe, 481E can be a vegan or not. To make E481 (sodium stearoyl lactylate), E481 is composed of stearic acid and lactic acid, which are found in milk. To make the lactic acid, carbohydrates must be fermented (no commercial forms of lactic acid are made from dairy milk). Stearic acid may be made from palm oil, but it can also be made from slaughtered animal fat. That’s why it can be vegan or not.

sodium stearoyl lactylate or SSL is the sodium salt of stearic acid with lactic acid dimer. High-fat baking products often employ this component as an emulsifier and stabilizer.

In what way does Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate is produced?

SSL is made from food-grade stearic acid (mainly from palm oil), lactic acid (from the fermentation of sugar beets or chemical synthesis), and sodium hydroxide.

Based on the reaction sequence, there are two ways to make SSL. Esterification of stearic acid and lactic acid may be used to make SSL, which can then be neutralized with sodium hydroxide to produce sodium salt.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the neutralization and esterification processes are sequential. The following is a summary of the production process: For the mixture, combine an equal amount of water with lactic acid and keep the temperature above the solidification point of water. aqueous Stearic acid

When sodium hydroxide is added to the mixture, the neutralization reaction will occur between sodium hydroxide and lactic acid.


A hygroscopic material such as SSL will get sticky in the damp air. As a result, SSL powder may be mixed with an anti-caking agent (e.g. calcium carbonate) to make it more easily dispersed.

What is Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate composed of?

SSL is a mixture, and since the reaction is complex, contaminants may be introduced from the source ingredients or created during manufacturing.

There are three primary parts to it:

·         Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate phosphate

·         1-Lactyl Sodium stearoyl phosphate

·         Sodium palmitoyl-1-lactylate



Smells like a somewhat acidic waxy white or yellow powder or brittle solid (flake).


In water

Disperse in hot water, which is insoluble in water. SSL is a hydrophilic emulsifier, however, it has limited water solubility at low temperatures, necessitating heat treatment of the water before use.

In Organic solvents

Ethanol, heated edible oils, and fats dissolve it.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate is used for what?

Emulsifying and stabilizing qualities are the primary uses of sodium stearoyl lactylate in the food and cosmetic industries. SSL is a viscosity enhancer and conditioner in cosmetics as well as a dough strengthener and crumb softener in bakeries.

As a dough conditioner and emulsifier, Food SSL is most often used in bread that has a large amount of fat and yeast. Raise the volume of the dough and improve its crumb structure

wheat gluten proteins, starch, and lactylate combine with flour to make a soft and elastic bread; this complex also inhibits the retrogradation of baked goods (aging). The bread will harden if it is not protected by SSL.

It is also used to enhance the texture, mouthfeel, and shelf life of foods like cookies, crackers, pastries, noodles, and other similar items. Shortening is distributed evenly in cookie and cracker dough by using SSL.

For usage, SSL may either be put straight to flour or dispersed in warm water and then mixed with flour.

SSL may be found in a variety of different foods.

·         Desserts and garnishes made with whipped cream (an aerating agent)

·         Some non-dairy coffee creamers (a complexing agent stable the emulsion)

·         Cosmetics that lighten the skin (a fat replacer)


Cosmetics and personal care products employ sodium stearoyl lactylate as an emulsifying ingredient to stabilize oil-in-water mixtures. Cosmetics that include SSL include the following:

Products for the treatment of the skin:

·         Shampoo

·         Lotion

Is It Safe to Consume Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate?

Yes, the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, have certified it as a safe ingredient (JECFA).


For the following food categories, the FDA has authorized SSL as a direct multifunctional food additive that may be used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and surface-active agent:

Pancakes and waffles 5% Icings, fillings, puddings, and other garnishes 2% Coffee as a milk or cream alternative Amounts of dehydrated potatoes, snack dips, cheese replacements, and imitations, as well as sauces or gravies, comprise 0.3 percent of the total.


“Additives other than colors and sweeteners” is where E481 (Sodium stearoyl lactylate) is classified in Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as an approved food additive.

Accepted purposes

The maximum allowed levels (MPLs) for calcium stearoyl lactylate (E482) are provided combined with 1000 to 10,000 mg/kg in food. It can be found in the following foods (6):

·         Fermented milk products with flavorings added.

·         Brew whitening agents

·         An emulsion is a mixture of fat and oil.

·         Dried-up mostarda

·         Sweets made with sugar

·         Gummy bears

·         Desserts, icings, glazes, and other components

·         Cereals for breakfast


In 2013, a safety review was conducted. EFSA determined that an ADI of 22 mg/kg BW/day for sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate (E481), alone or in combination with calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate (E 482), could be set after investigations on reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and others. 

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In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is 481 vegan?” and discussed its composition and properties.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.