Polysorbates 80 is a synthetically produced emulsifier and dispersing agent used to carry flavors and colors in food. By interfering with fat and protein interactions, polysorbate 80 improves the texture of ice cream and improves resistance to melting.

Health considerations

Animal studies have not found conclusive evidence of side effects to consumption of relatively high levels of polysorbate 80. It is generally well-tolerated but development of sensitivity to certain drugs and hormones in response to polysorbate 80 consumption. It may also increase spread of bacteria across the gut lining in individuals with Crohn’s Disease.

Keep in mind

The fatty acids used to synthesize polysorbates may come from animal sources. If this is of concern, consumers should contact manufacturers.

May be found in

Ice cream, dairy products


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
International Dairy Journal

Alternative Spellings and Names

Polyoxyethylene sorbitan mono-oleate, E433

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