What Are Food Preservatives?

Food preservatives are additives that can prevent spoilage caused by microorganisms and extend the shelf life of food. Because it also prevents food poisoning caused by the reproduction of microorganisms, it is also called an antimicrobial. Its main function is to inhibit the reproduction of microorganisms in food.

Food preservatives photo

Food preservatives are essentially compounds that inhibit the proliferation of microorganisms or kill them. They prevent food spoilage by inhibiting the activity of microorganisms, thereby extending the shelf life of food.

Food preservatives should have several characteristics: they are stable in nature and effective for a certain period of time; they are non-toxic during use or after decomposition, do not hinder the normal function of gastrointestinal enzymes, and do not affect the activity of normal intestinal flora; It has bacteriostatic or bactericidal effects at lower concentrations; it has no irritating or peculiar smell and is easy to use.

There are many types of food preservatives, including organic chemical preservatives such as benzoic acid and its salts, sorbic acid and its salts, esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid, and inorganic chemical preservatives such as sulfur dioxide, sulfites, and nitrites. These preservatives have certain antibacterial capabilities against molds, yeasts and bacteria under acidic conditions, and are often used for the preservation of fruit juices, beverages, cans, soy sauce, vinegar and other foods.

It should be noted that although food preservatives can extend the shelf life of food, their use must follow certain standards. Food preservatives must be added in strict accordance with the national “Hygienic Standards for the Use of Food Additives” and cannot be used beyond the standard. If these substances are added without strict compliance with national standards, preservatives will become a hidden killer of health.

There are 30 kinds of preservatives stipulated in our country, including benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, and calcium propionate.

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