Citric acid

Citric acid occurs naturally in a number of plant species, including lemons and pineapples. It is also found naturally in the human body, mainly in the bones. In food products, citric acid is used as a flavor enhancer for its tart, acidic taste. As an excipient, it is used primarily to adjust the pH (the acidity or alkalinity) of a product 1. It is also used in skin care products for fragrance 2. Citric acid is considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 3.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients. Washington, DC: Pharmaceutical Press and American Pharmacists Assn., 2006.
  2. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook. Washington, D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, 2006.
  3. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Code of Federal Regulations. CFR. Title 21. Part 184—Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). 21CFR184.1033. Citric Acid. Revised 4/01/2018. or