Tricalcium Phosphate (TCP)

1What is Tricalcium Phosphate(TCP)
Tricalcium phosphate or TCP is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid that is commonly used as an ingredient in food products and nutritional supplements.
2What other names are there for TriCalcium Phosphate?
The common abbreviation for TriCalcium Phosphate is TCP. It’s also known as TriCal, Tribasic, Calcium Salt, bone phosphate of lime (BPL), Precipitated Hydroxyapatite, simply Hydroxyapatite tri-calcium orthophosphate, and or precipitated calcium phosphate.
3What is the Chemistry behind TCP?

TCP is a white solid crystalline mineral of low solubility in neutral aqueous or organic solvents. Most commercially produced tricalcium phosphates are, in fact, hydroxyapatite, a mineral with nearly identical chemical and physical properties that depending on treatment, can be readily converted into one another. As such, both FCC and EUFSA regard these materials as equivalent. While Tricalcium phosphate/Hydroxyapatite is produced commercially by treating calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) with phosphoric acid.

The chemical formula for TCP is Ca3(PO4)2. CAS # 7758-87-4. Calcium phosphates have been assigned European food additive number E341iii. The formula for Hydroxyapatite Ca5(PO4)3(OH). Again both TCP and Hydroxyapatite have indiscernible differences apart from the microscopic/nanoscale crystal structure, which can be determined by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD). However, this has little no practical effect on the usage of TCP/Hydroxyapatite for most applications. Customers requiring TRUE Tricalcium phosphate (Ca3(PO4)2) Should contact NEI Sales for further details/options for acquiring this particular calcium salt over hydroxyapatite.

4What is TCP doing in my food?

Primarily TCP is used as a calcium or phosphorus fortifying agent, Acting as an analogous mineral to the calcium minerals found in dairy products. Due to its low reactivity, TCP is useful in solving various issues facing the food industry. One major application is the use of TCP as an Anti-caking agent.

Without anti-caking agents, many food ingredients like sugar, flour, baking powder, etc., would, over time, become solid blocks with chalk-like consistency. Typically These dry ingredients slowly absorb moisture out of the air; this creates additional hydrostatic interactions that allow particles to bind with one another. This caking leads to lower product quality as the ingredients due to increased moisture oxidize, thus altering the particles' surface-level chemical and physical properties. In turn, this means that the once fine free following materials begin to cluster and agglomerate; therefore, they lose the ability to flow when being poured. Anti-caking agents reduce this issue by either coating the particles themselves to shield them or absorbing moisture before the powder does.

Food manufacturers often add anti-caking agents at some point during the production process to optimize manufacturing. Manufacturing efficiencies like reducing clumping and moisture-absorption lowers the overall production cost, which means lower prices to you for your sugar, flour, and other powdered ingredients in your pantry.

5Are anti-caking agents safe in food?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms the safe use of the anti-caking agents used in food and beverages. They must pass a rigorous evaluation in order to be used. This evaluation requires a dossier containing the scientific evaluation of the safety of the ingredient. Once the FDA reviews the data, an ingredient can be deemed safe and given a status known as “Generally Recognized as Safe,” or “GRAS” certification, which means it is certified and managed by the FDA.
6Just give me the basic TCP facts please!

Tricalcium Phosphate is an ingredient used in a variety of industries for many purposes. Tricalcium phosphate is white, odorless, and tasteless. The TCP should be stored in a dry and cool area to maintain the material's as received properties. While NEI's TCP has a listed 3-year shelf life as required by food safety policies. This could be extended customers with the material in their inventory approaching three years of age can contact NEI about the material's recertification process.

A few facts:

  1. Chemically, tricalcium phosphate is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid identical to its naturally occurring counterpart
  2. It is almost insoluble in water and alcohols.
  3. NEI's TCP is sourced from non-Animal-derived Material (ADM); as such, it can be used in vegan foods

Tricalcium Phosphate use in the food industry will generally be in one of the following areas; however, this list is not exhaustive:

  • Anti-Caking Agent: Food grade Tricalcium Phosphate is primarily used as an anti-caking agent. Anti-caking agents are very helpful in preventing the formation of lumps (caking) in food products. Without anti-caking agents, products such as muffin or biscuit mixes, dry soups, hot chocolate mix, cream powders, and more would be clumped and chunky. One of the most common uses for Tricalcium Phosphate is the anti-caking agent for powdered spices and solid drink mixes.
  • Calcium or Phosphorus Fortification: Tricalcium Phosphate contains the calcium salt of phosphoric acid, so one will often see this product as a food additive to increase calcium and phosphorus. It is a popular additive in cereals, dairy products, and juices.
  • pH Regulator and Buffering Agent: Tricalcium Phosphate can be added to milk, candy, pudding, wine, cheese, jams, condiments, and meat products to regulate acidity, enhance flavor and improve mouthfeel. Compared to other agents, TCP tends to be milder in its effect on pH compared to other mineral salts.
7How does TriCalcium Phosphate actually work in food manufacturing?
The function of TCP in food depends upon the actual application. Some common examples are:
  • Acidity regulator
  • Adds smoothness and opacity to reduced fat foods and beverages, such as soymilk
  • Anticaking agent
  • Buffer
  • Calcium and phosphorus mineral fortification– seen in some juices, soy beverages, and cereal products
  • Clouding Agent
  • Emulsifier
  • Firming agent – interacts with gelling agents to strengthen a food structure
  • Flour Treatment Agent
  • Humectant in some table salts, sugar, or baking powder
  • Stabilizer in some fats for frying
  • Leavening agent in some baked goods & breading
  • Mineral salt in cheese products
  • Thickener
8Can TCP replace Silicon Dioxide as a flow agent?

Silicon Dioxide or ground quartz is often used as a flow agent in dry powder applications in much the same way as TCP; as such food-grade TCP can be used in place of Silicon Dioxide based agents for most applications. In comparison, the inclusion rates may vary based on application; typically, dry food product manufacturers find that TCP can be used at a lower inclusion rate. Either agent may be added in manufacturing when a product is in a liquid or powdered state. However, TCP confers additional advantages, TCP adds Calcium and Phosphorus fortification and is soluble in acidic mixtures, while silicon dioxides are not as essential for nutrition as calcium is. As such, TCP can be used as both a flow agent and as a fortification agent, thus potentially replacing two ingredients with a single agent.

Furthermore, there are no official guidelines on worker exposure limits for TCP, whereas some silicon dioxide compounds may require additional preventive controls related to OSHA established worker exposure limits.

9Can TCP replace Titanium Dioxide?

Titanium Dioxide TiO2 is a rather ubiquitous material throughout the industrialized world, being used as a pigment and a solid phase particle used to support functionalization chemistry applications in this area, including catalysis, remediation, small scale electronics, and functional coatings for other materials. As a pigment, TiO2 is estimated to be in one-third of all industrially produced pigments. However, its use is not without possible consequences ranging from potential environmental contamination to a probable carcinogen. There are enough concerns about setting exposure limits that EUFSA in 2019 began studies to revise said exposure limits. As for concerns about the potential relation between TiO2 and tumorigenesis, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified titanium dioxide as a suspected carcinogen based on studies that showed increased lung tumors in rats associated with titanium dioxide inhalation.

In the food industry, the typical application for titanium dioxide is as a bleaching or whitening agent. The desiccative and conditioning properties of Tricalcium Phosphate make it an effective bleaching or whitening agent without the risk associated with titanium dioxide. While aiding in color adjustment, Tricalcium Phosphate adds Calcium and Phosphorus fortification, and there are no additional worker exposure limits beyond those associated with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

What is Safe Quality Food (SQF)?

1What is SQF?
SQF (Safe Quality Food) SQF Definition: SQF is a Food Safety Management Certification Scheme, created and managed by SQF Institute, used to control food safety risks. Once your food safety management system is implemented it is audited and certified by a third-party certification body.
2SQF Benefits to Buyers

Requiring SQF certification from suppliers helps protect client’s brand by focusing proactive prevention strategies. This, in turn, increases increasing consumer confidence and loyalty. SQF certification meets regulatory food safety requirements and enables buyers to demonstrate due diligence in food safety matters by requiring their suppliers to implement just one program and one standard. Because SQF is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, it is trusted by buyers around the world.

The SQF Program also makes it easier for buyers to identify qualified suppliers by providing online access to a list of SQF suppliers, along with their certification status and audit results.

The Safe Quality Foundation’s Compliance and Integrity Program (CIP) measures the quality and integrity of SQF certificates, audits, SQF professionals, and licensed certification bodies. The SQF CIP, helps to ensure the consistent execution of the SQF Program to meet stakeholder expectations. The CIP is used to identify areas for improvement to strengthen the SQF Program. There are two areas of focus for the CIP: Monitoring Activities and Stakeholder Feedback.

3Why NEI is SQF Certified
NEI understands trends in the global food ingredient market and is using SQF as a competitive advantage. The Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is a rigorous and credible food safety and quality program that is recognized by retailers, brand owners, and food service providers world-wide. Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF family of food safety and quality codes are designed to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements for all sectors of the food supply chain – from the farm all the way to the retail stores. This rigorous farm-to-fork food safety and quality certification helps food producers assure their buyers that their food products have been grown, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible global food safety standards.


1How can I place an order for TCP?
NEI’s sales team is available to take your order from 7:30a to 5:00p CST Monday – Friday. You can call us at 618-942-2112 or e-mail anytime We are happy to assist you.
2How is Tricalcium Phosphate Shipped?
All NEI products are shipped FOB Herrin, IL. Small volume orders of <100 lbs may use services like FedEx, or UPS. NEI suggest LTL freight for larger orders. NEI can assist you in scheduling shipping for your orders and is happy to work with your preferred freight company.
3Is there a minimum order quantity (MOQ)?
There is no minimum order quantity aside from our standard package sizes. You may order and NEI will ship a single bag, unit or combination of Tricalcium Phosphate based on the chart below. All Freight is FOB Herrin.
4How long will it take to get TCP from NEI?
Standard time to ship is 2-3 weeks from the date we receive your order. Larger volumes and customized blends may take a little longer. When you place your order with NEI, we will estimate your ship date.
5Does NEI ship overseas?
Yes, NEI is happy to ship overseas but will abide by any trade restrictions or prohibitions. You should check your area for local restrictions. All freight is FOB Herrin, IL. We suggest you get 1 or more quotes on overseas freight before you place your order.


1What is NEI’s credit policy?
NEI will tailor our payment process to your needs offering prepayment, ACH transfer or lines of credit for approved accounts. To establish a Line of Credit please complete the following form. NEI will perform a credit check, trade reference check. New accounts must be approved by NEI Corporate. To start the credit approval process, you may complete this form and return it to Prices are subject to change without notice.