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Foods Containing Edta

By Gemma Argent ; Updated September 26, 2017

EDTA or ethylene diaminetetra acetic acid, is a chelating amino acid that removes various heavy metals from the body. It does this by binding up the ions of the metals by connecting to the ions with six bonds. The process of chelation renders the metals useless and they are dissolved and flushed out of the body in the urine. The American Heart Association gave its recommendation and approval for using EDTA to eliminate heavy metals from the body. EDTA comes in various grades that are used for different reasons, including a food grade compound that is added to foods as they are processed.

Soft Fatty Food Products

Salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces and soft spreadable margarine have EDTA added for several reasons. EDTA has the ability to keep the product from going rancid or losing its taste and flavor, thereby keeping the product on the shelf for a longer period of time. Copper and iron are ionic metals that are found in dressings and sauces like mayonnaise, margarine and salad dressing and have the potential to create problems because they will degrade the fats and oils, which then alters the flavor of the product and makes it unpalatable and unusable. The addition of EDTA to the product allows the copper and iron to be trapped and made inert, preventing any reactions that would cause issues.


Because beans are commercially packaged in metal cans, EDTA is added during the processing phase to make sure any metallic taste is eliminated. EDTA bonds to the metals, sequestering them from the rest of the product, and renders them inactive. By doing this, any metallic odor or taste is prevented and the bean product is made palatable. EDTA is not usually listed as an ingredient on canned goods, but black-eyed peas, white beans and kidney beans contain food grade EDTA when commercially processed and canned.


Milk products, beer and soft drinks are made with EDTA additives. The purpose of adding EDTA to soft drinks is to keep the carbonation active so the drink will not go flat and the flavor won't be lost prior to the opening of the can or bottle. EDTA is added to regular milk to preserve the flavor. In condensed milk in cans, it is used to prevent the milk from getting too thick. The reason for adding EDTA to beer during brewing is to prevent the beer from gushing. Gushing is a term used when beer ends up bubbly or effervescent, which ruins the batch.

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