Despite the current consumer push towards supposedly “all-natural” foods, anyone who looks into the subject knows that the modern food and beverage industry requires a wide variety of food additives and preservatives. Often, these additives get a very bad reputation, and for little to no reason. People think that “all-natural” foods are somehow a superior option when, most of the time, they’re objectively worse. (more…)
It’s generally agreed that the most commonly used preservative in the world is salt and has been since ancient times. However, just slightly behind it is citric acid – either straight or through the use of strong citric fruit like lemons and limes. For thousands of years, citric acid has been an incredibly important part of food creation and preservation, and it continues to be so to this day. (more…)
There are many substances that are only used in a handful of specific applications, and then there are those which are utilized in a wide variety of situations. Calcium chloride is definitely among the latter. A salt of calcium and chlorine is extremely hygroscopic and therefore its primary application is as a desiccant. (more…)
With the current consumer drive towards healthier and “more natural” foods, it’s understandable for some companies to be concerned about putting too many artificial preservatives in their products. However, when it comes to sodium benzoate, there is very little to fear. This is one of the most commonly used preservatives in the world and has been repeatedly found to be of no threat to human health when used properly. (more…)
Throughout history, one of the biggest concerns of every group of people around the world has been finding ways to preserve food produced. Food preservation has advanced side by side with agriculture since ancient times, and over the centuries, we have found more and more ways to keep food edible for ever-longer periods. (more…)
Sodium Benzoate is among the most commonly used artificial preservatives in food and medicine today. It is also well-studied and considered to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, allowing it to be used a wide variety of products.
In this article, we’ll cover what sodium benzoate is, where it comes from, its uses, and any potential health issues that might arise from overuse.
- The Basics of Sodium Benzoate
Sodium benzoate is an odorless white power, created by combining benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide (lye). Sodium benzoate is not naturally occurring and must be created in a lab, although its primary ingredient – benzoic acid – is natural. This acid can be found in many commonplace plants, such as tomatoes, cloves, cinnamon, apples, and cranberries. It is also produced as a byproduct of some fermenting processes, such as the creation of yogurt.
Benzoic acid is already a good preservative on its own. The addition of sodium hydroxide makes it more readily soluble, and therefore easier to use in a wider variety of products.
- Uses of Sodium Benzoate
Sodium benzoate was among the first artificial preservatives approved by the FDA and is therefore used widely throughout the food and beverage industry. It actively inhibits the growth of molds and bacteria, allowing for significantly extended shelf lives for treated products.
Being based in an acid, the preservative does have a noticeable sharp flavor. Therefore, it is most commonly used in products which are themselves acidic or salty, such as sodas, citric juices, pickles, salad dressing, and soy sauce.
Sodium benzoate also sees significant use in the health and beauty industries. It is commonly used as a preservative for liquid medications, such as cough syrup, and is also utilized in a wide variety of cosmetics.
III. Potential Health Issues from Sodium Benzoate
While sodium benzoate itself is harmless, in certain circumstances it can convert into benzene, which is known to be a carcinogen. This is most likely to happen when in the presence of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). However, the process is inhibited when sugars are present, so the biggest danger is from diet sodas and fruit juices. The industry generally avoids using sodium benzoate in diet/sugar-free drinks for this reason.
Otherwise, sodium benzoate is considered entirely safe when used in proper quantities.
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Few developments in human history are more important than food additives and preservatives. For thousands of years, preservatives have helped keep people fed in times of need. Today, we have more preservative options than ever before – but a few tend to be used far more than the others. (more…)
The best food additives and preservatives don’t merely extend a product’s shelf life – they actually help improve the product and bring more enjoyment to the consumer. Calcium chloride is an excellent example of this. Calcium chloride is a common salt, one deemed extremely safe, particularly in the concentrations commonly seen in food products. Due to this, it’s widely used and brings benefits to many different types of products. (more…)
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