Modified food starch is a food ingredient that is chemically altered, and made from starch. Sources of modified food starch include corn, potato, tapioca, rice, and wheat. Tofutti products use modified food starch in their products, taken from corn.
The starch is made by a number of different methods, depending on the intended use. In order to produce a modified starch, you can treat it with acid, roast it, treat it with sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, add a positive electrical charge, or treat it with emulsifiers or starch ether. Sometimes, a modified food starch will undergo more than one of the above mentioned processes depending on the outcome needed.
Starches are modified because it makes them easier to use in some recipes. Modified starches have many uses in food products, which include making a product easier to dissolve in cold water or milk for instant gelatinized recipes, making powdered foods such as a cheese sauce less lumpy in consistency when it is mixed, acting as a fat substitute for low-fat foods, acting as an emulsifier for salad dressings in order to the keep the oils from separating, forming a hard shell on candies such as jelly beans, giving certain foods longer shelf lives, and acting as a thickener for some soups.
With that in mind, it isn’t uncommon to find modified food starch in some of the foods you eat every day. You’ll find these starches in chips, canned soups, instant pudding, low-fat ice cream, cheese sauces, candy, some medical capsules, and powder coated foods such as cocoa-dusted almonds.
Modified food starches are in place to improve the food we produce, and they’ve definitely done just that. As a result, we have lowered costs, and food that looks and tastes better.