About 50% of the world's citric acid production is used as flavor enhancers for beverages, while another 19% goes into food. About 15% is consumed in detergent production, 8% in pharmaceuticals, and 8% in industrial applications. It can be used in preserving foods and enhancing their flavor. It also acts as an antioxidant synergist in fatty foods.
Citric acid is a useful ingredient present in beverages, jams, jellies, candies and frozen foods. Citric acid is also added in fruit-based and gelatin desserts as well as in canned vegetables and meat products. Citric acid can preserve food, enhance flavor and more. Citric acid is one of the most useful ingredients if food and beverage industries.
Citrate salts of various metals are used to deliver those minerals in a biologically available form in many dietary supplements. The buffering properties of citrates are used to control pH in household cleaners and pharmaceuticals.
Citric acid's ability to chelate metals makes it useful in soaps and laundry detergents.
By chelating the metals in hard water, it lets these cleaners produce foam and work
better without need for water softening.
Similarly, citric acid is used to regenerate the ion exchange materials used in water
softeners by stripping off the accumulated metal ions as citrate complexes.
It is used in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry to passivate high purity process piping in substitution for using nitric acid, since nitric acid is a hazardous disposal issue once it is used for this purpose, while citric acid is not.
Citric acid is recognized as safe for use in food by all major national and international food regulatory agencies. It is naturally present in almost all forms of life, and excess citric acid is readily metabolized and eliminated from the body.