Alcohol Specifications

United Nations

Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (J.E.C.F.A.) of the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (Compendium of Food Additive Specifications - 52/1, Rome, 1992)

Specifications for Ethanol as a Food Additive


1. Functional uses: Extraction solvent, Carrier solvent
2. Description: Clear, colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, with a mild, characteristic odor and a burning taste.
3. Characteristics:  
  Parameter Specification
  (a) Ethanol content by volume 94.9% minimum
  (b) Miscibility in water Miscible in all proportions
  (c) Refractive index n 20D 1.3635 - 1.3645
  (d) Boiling point About 78C
  (e) Residue on evaporation 2 mg/100 ml maximum (20 p.p.m)
  (f) Acidity, as acetic acid, on a weight /volume basis 0.005% maximum (50 p.p.m)
  (g) Alkalinity, as ammonia 0.003% maximum (30 p.p.m)
  (h) Heavy metals 1 mg/kg maximum (1 p.p.m)
  (i) Fusel oil Passes test (Absence of foreign odor when mixture with glycerine and water is evaporated from a clean, odorless filter paper)
  (j) Ketones, methanol and other impurities measured by gas chromatography
Any other individual impurity:

0.5% maximum (5000 p.p.m)
0.02% maximum (200 p.p.m)
0.1% maximum (1000 p.p.m)
  (k) Substances darkened by sulphuric acid
(Amyl alcohols and non-volatile, carbonizable substances, etc.)
Passes test (No change of color)
  (l) Permanganate time at 15C 5 minutes minimum

Note: Reference should be made to the Compendium of Food Additive Specifications for full details of the test procedures.

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