Food Ingredient Reference Standards

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To equip industry with all of the tools necessary to perform analytical procedures with a high degree of accuracy, FCC monographs and methods are often developed with reliance on authenticated Reference Standards, which may be purchased through USP. When a shipper or receiver is confronted with passing judgment on the suitability (i.e., identity and purity) of a food ingredient, use of an authenticated Reference Standard allows for a rapid and unbiased decision to satisfy quality assurance, contractual agreements, and regulators. All items sold as USP Reference Standards have passed a rigorous testing protocol designed to ensure the suitability of the material for the test methods provided in the FCC and other USP publications.


Using USP Reference Standards in combination with FCC monographs can benefit the food industry and analytical community in many ways

  • Increased safety of food ingredients: Stringent identity criteria in the monograph, together with a real-life sample of the food ingredient, allow food manufacturers to identify any potential adulteration of a food ingredient and thus safeguard their products and ultimately the consumer. The analytical results of Reference Standards permit side-by-side comparison of this authentic material and any unknown material as a way to confirm the unknown material's identity and aid in excluding the presence of adulterating agents.
  • Protection of the identity of food ingredients: Food-ingredient producers that sponsor the development of a monograph and reference materials will enjoy additional protection of the authenticity of their product by always having an authentic sample publicly available. This authentic sample will allow any prospective or current customer to evaluate any other material for purity and authenticity, and thus increase the trust and safety in a food ingredient that is supported in such a transparent way.
  • Enhanced reliability of analytical test results: Reference standards are frequently used by test laboratories to calibrate analytical methods or as quality control samples. Both uses will increase the reliability of analytical test procedures, aid in quality audits, and generally enhance the level of confidence in the test results.


USP currently offers more than 3,300 USP Reference Standards, including a wide variety of food ingredients (e.g., flavorings, preservatives, nutrients, and melting point standards). View a list of available food-specific Reference Standards.

USP is interested in your ideas for new Reference Standards. To submit an idea, click here. You also can learn when never-before-released USP Reference Standards become available through the USP Reference Standards Notification Program.

Unavailable First-Time Official Reference Standards (RS)—Updated June 24, 2016

*These reference standards have been approved and will soon be available in the USP store. A notification will be sent out when these are become available.

  • The official dates of any FCC standards, tests, or assays requiring the use of the following new USP RS are postponed until further notice pending availability of the respective RS. Please refer to the current USP Daily Catalog for a more up-to-date availability list.
    • Alginate-Konjac-Xanthan Polysaccharide Complex for Viscosity Identification
    • Advantame Acid
    • Aminotriazinone RS
    • Beta-Bisabolol
    • Bisabolene
    • Biurea
    • Blended Polysaccharide for Viscosity Identification
    • Calcium L-Threonate
    • Color Related Compound 001
    • Color Related Compound 002
    • Color Related Compound 003
    • Color Related Compound 004
    • Isobutylidene Diurea RS
    • Lactose Semicarbazone RS
    • Methylenediurea RS
    • Polyglycerol Polyricinoleic Acid System Suitability
    • Pomegranate Juice Concentrate*
    • Triuret
    • Zinc Acetate
    • Zinc Stearate

*These reference standards have been approved and will soon be available in the USP store. A notification will be sent out when these become available.

New Reference Standards for Food Ingredients

USP also offers opportunities for you to submit new food ingredient monographs and donate bulk material for the development of new food ingredient Reference Standards. To learn more, visit the Food Ingredients Donor Program information page.