May 21, 2019
The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute- Department of Science and Technology (PNRI-DOST) recently reported that as many as eight out of ten vinegar products are not made from natural sources. According to the report, such products did not undergo the natural process of fermentation of acetic acid, which is the usual process of making vinegar.
Natural vinegar is a product made from the conversion of ethyl alcohol to acetic acid. Synthetic or “fake” vinegar, however, reportedly uses glacial acetic acid, which shortens the production process.
The FDA classifies vinegar as a low risk product, which means that these products are unlikely to contain pathogenic microorganisms and will not normally support their growth because of food characteristics. There is also no evidence that synthetic acetic acid is harmful to health.
While considered low risk, FDA standards consider vinegar a natural product that should have undergone the natural process of alcoholic or acetous fermentation of natural raw materials. If the product contains artificial matter, such as synthetic acetic acid or cloudifying agent, it is considered adulterated.
“The FDA is coordinating with the PNRI for the submission of the results of the analysis, while continuously subjecting vinegar products for testing. Synthetic acetic acid may not be harmful per se, but products using such chemicals shall have their registration with the FDA revoked for misdeclaration,” OIC-FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said.