Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch Review: It’s Corn free

Is Expandex Organic or Natural? Find Out.

Expandex modified tapioca flour review

Expandex modified tapioca starch, is it safe?  I assume most folks on special multiple allergy diets have cast an uneasy eye on the new Expandex modified tapioca starch. I recently purchased a bag to experiment with. I also did a little investigating on the product. I’d like to answer your many questions on how it’s made. Find out if it is safe for you to use.

I contacted Corn Products U.S. technical support last week. The company representative finally responded after a week of waiting. Perhaps that is a good sign. expandexThe representative may have been digging deep to make sure the information presented is factual and accurate.

They claim that as a single ingredient Expandex is safe for folks with corn allergies.

They say that Expandex is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Expandex also does not contain aspartame. They cannot say whether or not they are ‘safe’ for Feingold or Failsafe dieters beyond these claims.

The company will not disclose how Expandex is made, as it is a trade secret. They did say that the process is similar to processes used for other modified starches.

What Processes are Used to Make Modified Starches?

Modified Starches are degraded through various processes depending on the desired outcome. Methods may include: cross-linking, acid treating, alkaline modification, bleaching, enzyme treating, pre-gelatinizing, and  the use of oxidation.

Manufacturers alter food starches in order to create products with a longer shelf life and with better freeze and thaw cycles. The most common modifications include cross-linking. That is a process that toughens the starch granule. Cross-linking makes the starch resistant to heat and acid and chemical substitution. This creates better freeze and thaw cycles.

Corn Products U.S. says:  Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch is made in a dedicated facility where no gluten or corn are processed.

Is Modified Starch Organic?

The answer is no, unless the manufacturer declares the product organic. At this time I have yet to find a single such product. Traditionally modified starches have used harmful chemicals like chlorine to chemically alter the flour. Now manufacturers can process flours using a special heating technique. This technique avoids utilization of harmful chemicals. This is the exception and not the norm.  Additionally, there is no way to know if the original flour used is itself an organic grain, conventional, or a GMO.

Maybe new USDA regulations on organic labeling and more public interest in organic and natural foods will change things. We need more natural, healthier alternatives to the processed modified food starches in our food. Without the commitment from Corn Products U.S. to disclose the method they use in making Expandex, consider the worst case scenario.  If you have to exclude chemicals from your diet, Expandex might not be the product for you.

Our Review of Expandex in Our Recipes

We did bake a few of my family’s favorite bread recipes with Expandex added and were impressed with the results. Expandex does all that the product claims. It lengthens the shelf-life of the bread. It cuts down tremendously on crumbliness. It also provides a ‘sandwich’ worthy home-baked bread without using yeast.

If you’re concerned about the chemical elements in Expandex, don’t use it. You could get similar successful results in recipes by using natural gums. Try guar gum or xanthan gum instead.  You could also use other natural binders like as kefir (made with milk) and natural fruit pectins like apple pectin or apple sauce. Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch is available to purchase through Amazon.com.

 

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21 Comments on Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch Review: It’s Corn free

  1. Good information! After eating a gluten free flour with Expandex, I am experiencing pain and stiffness all over my body. This is not common for me. I am wondering if there is a connection with the Expandex and the onset of these symptoms? I am doing my research from now on BEFORE I consume “modified” food products!!!

    Thanks Caryn,

    Tammy

  2. It is confusing since Expandex is manufactured by Corn Products International, but Expandex is a modified tapioca starch and does not contain any corn? I still trying to make it sounds legitimate heehee.

    Anyway, it is a modified tapioca starch that is claimed to enhance gluten free baking. According to my colleagues, it will make your gluten free baked goods rise better, brown better and just plain taste better. More like wheat baked goods. But still it raises concern to those who have family members with corn allergies like myself.

    • I know what you mean about the corn free claim. They assured me that it was made in a separate facility. We actually live fairly close to a corn plant (less than 10 miles) and it has a very distinct odor when we pass by it on occasion. We have used the Expandex but I am not a fan of using it regularly. I tend to bake moist breads and use kefir or applesauce a lot. We also avoid yeast 99% of the time. The claim that it helps “keep” bread longer is true. I can get the same kind of consistency with guar gum.

  3. I prefer to take only organic starch. Modified starch is not organic and consuming it for long term may show some side effect because of chemical used. I’m sure they process this starch in a facilitity that processed other supplementary products like dairy, egg, etc. This may effect badly on lactose intollerent people like me. Have you heard of maize starch? I’m hearing a lot of good reviews on this product these days.

    • Maize starch is the same thing as corn starch in the States. We frequently travel to Ireland and most gluten free products there have corn in them in some form (labeled as ‘maize’). Maize does hold together well, but corn is frequently toxic with mold, you know– for someone with autoimmune problems, inflammation, or multiple allergies it is a very good idea to avoid corn, as it is loaded with mycotoxins (fungi). Wheat, corn, and peanuts are the top crops that are typically infested with mycotoxins. So in small doses in a healthy person it is doable, but if a person already has a compromised immune system and a known fungal issue I would say steer clear of the maize starch. I have used apple sauce, guar gum, arrowroot starch as thickeners and all work well. I agree with you on the modified starch. We try to stay as chemical free as possible in our house. Banana is also good when baking if you have an egg allergy, and so is flax seed.

  4. Hi, You said: “We did bake a few of my family’s favorite bread recipes with Expandex added and were impressed with the results.”

    I’m curious, did you eat them? I can’t imagine using eating a product that has “probably” been bleached and “possibly” made form a genetically modified flour. Are you recommending this product or against it, or neither?

    One last thing, “The company also stated that their product is free from preservatives”.

    The genetic modification of the flour and bleaching of it’s starch is, I thought they said, for shelf life???

  5. But, is there any dairy or soy in this (other than soy lecithin, which I tolerate)? Where do I go to get an ingredients list? Maybe you could publish one here???
    Do you know if this is available on Amazon.com? If so, maybe a link???

    • I tried really hard to get them to divulge their process to no avail. It is proprietary, although they do claim it is non GMO. They won’t tell the public. It is my understanding that the sole ingredient is tapioca starch that they have modified. Here it is, straight from their website:

      Expandex® modified tapioca starch is manufactured using a process that is proprietary to Corn Products. The modification is not a genetic modification (i.e., Expandex® is non-GMO) and the process is governed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for substances that are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) in food (21 CFR 182), including the specific regulations for “food starch- modified” (21 CFR 172.892).

      Please review the on-line Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 CFR 172.892 for more information.

      When you read the chemical listing on the ECofFR site it really makes you pause a moment.

      We do not use this product regularly in our house. I bought the product and sampled it for review purposes from a consumer standpoint and in the interest of corn allergy sufferers. It replaces the need for xanthan gum and guar gum in gluten free recipes and will have a longer shelf life than breads baked with the gums. This is what they claim on their website and I found it to be true in my kitchen as well. We did sample the bread and no one had an adverse effect from it. So I believe that their corn-free claim is legitimate. I hope this helps.

  6. Hi Caryn,

    Thanks for posting this great information. Since modified starches are either enzymatically processed or chemically processed and that the manufacturer, Corn Products International will not divulge which, I would assume it is chemically processed, or we would see them using “natural” somewhere on their products. You have helped me immensely in my research on this product. Thank you so very much for taking the time to do all of the leg work.

  7. Thanks for the review. It has helped me make a more informed decision as I did not see this info on the Expandex website.

  8. I have tried the chebe bread mix, which is pretty good and looking at the ingredients saw that it contained modified tapioca starch, and expandex seems about the only source not wholesale, but have seen some of the wholesale sources? MSG factories in Thailand, etc. Upon first inspection, it would make sense that if they are just buying it cheap form China or Thailand calling it expandex, maketing it to the gluten free crowd and cutting about 900 percent margin. Hence I doubt they would have any reason to think corn would be involved but what else is?

  9. Tapioca starch is the richest source of starch It looks like normal white flour which is sweeter than other flours. It is also available in several flavors which are specially introduced for backing lovers who are passionate about baking cakes, bread and muffins in different flavors. All these features are found in the tapioca starch produced by Shafi Gluco Chem.

  10. So just HOW is the Expandex proportioned in recipes? 1/2 tsp per cup of flour blend? 1/4 c? Cannot get info ANYWHERE, and you do not share that either. Would really appreciate knowing this information, and if you won’t/can’t share, then please state the website that has this info.
    I’ve searched EVERYWHERE and have had NO success.

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