What Is It?
Tallow is the fat derived from the fatty tissue of sheep or cattle. Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium Tallowate are salts of the fatty acids of Tallow. All three ingredients are soaps and are used in the formulation of bath soaps and detergents. Sodium Tallowate can also be found in cleansing products, personal cleanliness products and shampoos.
Why Is It Used?
Sodium Tallowate functions as a An ingredient that helps two substances that normally do not mix to become dissolved or dispersed in one another. Also called a surface active agent. – cleansing agent and foam booster, and as a viscosity increasing agent – aqueous. Magnesium Tallowate functions as an Ingredients or processing aids that prevent powdered or granular substances from forming clumps., Non-reactive, solid ingredients that are used to dilute other solids, or to increase the volume of a product., and viscosity increasing agent – nonaqueous. Potassium Tallowate is used as a surfactant – cleansing agent and emulsifying agent.
Historically, Tallow, obtained from fatty tissues of beef or mutton, was often used as soap stock. Tallow contains the glycerides of oleic, palmitic, stearic, myristic and linoleic acids. The fatty acids from Tallow are reacted with a base to generate water-soluble salts such as Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium Tallowate. For example, tallow is reacted with sodium hydroxide to produce Sodium Tallowate.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Tallow on its list of substances considered Generally Recognized As Safe (“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.) as a substance migrating from cotton and cotton fabrics used in dry food packaging. Salts of Tallow fatty acids including Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium Tallowate are included on FDA’s list of indirect food additives. For example, these ingredients may be used in adhesives, defoaming agents and as components of paper and paperboard. The safety of Tallow and Tallow Glyceride ingredients has been assessed by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 as an independent safety review program for cosmetic ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel consists of independent experts in dermatology, toxicology, pharmacolgy and veterinary medicine. The CIR includes participation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Tallow and Tallow Glyceride ingredients were safe as cosmetic ingredients in the present practices of use. Search this website for more information on Tallow and the Tallow Glyceride ingredients.
Link to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Tallow
Link to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations for salts of Tallow fatty acids
The use of Tallow and Tallow derived ingredients used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in the United States is subject to sourcing limitation and record-keeping requirements described in the Code of Federal Regulations as described in several Federal Register publications.
Federal Register Publications:
July 14, 2004:
October 11, 2006:
More information about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
When used in cosmetics and personal care products in Europe, Sodium Tallowate, Magensium Tallowate and Potassium Tallowate must conform to European Union animal by-products legislation, and the Under the general provisions of the cosmetics regulation of the EU, ingredients appearing on the following function-specific annexes must comply with the listed restrictions and/or specifications: colorants (Annex IV), preservatives (Annex V), UV filters (Annex VI) and other ingredients with specific concentration limits and/or other restrictions (Annex III). Ingredients specifically prohibited from use in cosmetic products are listed in Annex II. Other ingredients listed in the EU cosmetic ingredient database (CosIng) may be used without restrictions..
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:
More Scientific Information
The major constituents of Tallow are the glycerides of oleic, palmitic, stearic, myristic and linoleic acids. Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium Tallowate are the respective salts of Tallow fatty acids.
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration
Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm
Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm
Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/