What is modified starch and why is it modified?

“Modified starch” does not mean that it has been genetically modified or produced from genetically modified organisms.

Modified starch is the starch extracted from grains and vegetables which has been treated to improve its ability to keep the texture and structure of the food. We use modified starch in food products that need to be microwaved, freeze-dried, cooked at high temperatures (for example, a ready-made pizza, instant soup, sauces) or baked and fried so that the texture of such food does not change during the cooking process.

There are three different ways of modifying starch – it can be cooked or roasted (which is called physical modification), treated with enzymes (enzymatic modification) or with various chemicals (chemical modification). All modified starches are safe to use in the EU – they are independently tested by the European Food Safety Authority in order to guarantee their safety. They are labelled either by their name (e.g. modified starch) and/or their E number (e.g. E1404) on a product pack.

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