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Friday, December 24, 2010

What are food- preservatives?

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Substances that are added to food items in order to inhibit, retard or arrest the process of fermentation, acidification or decomposition of food items are called as preservatives.

Preservatives have been kept under two broad classes- Class I preservatives and Class II Preservatives. Some class-I preservatives are: common salt, sugar, dextrose, glucose syrup, spices, vinegar or acetic acid, honey and edible vegetable oil. These preservatives can be mixed in any food product, unless otherwise provided in the rules. Class II preservatives are Benzoic acid and its salts; sulphurous acid and its salts; Nitrates or Nitrites of Sodium or Potassium (in meat products like ham and pickled meat); Sorbic acid and its Sodium , Potassium or calcium salts; propionates of calcium or sodium; Lactic acid and acid calcium phosphate ; Nicin; propionates of Sodium and Calcium ; Methyl or Propyl Parahydroxy- Benzoate; Propionic acid, their salts and esters; sodium diacetate and Sodium, Potassium and calcium salts of Lactic acid.

According to law no person is allowed to use more than one preservative of class II on one particular food item. As per law Sulphur dioxide or Benzoic acid can be added in the proportion of 40 parts per million or 200 parts per million respectively. The use of each one of the class II preservatives is specified and restricted under law.

Key words : food- preservatives, law,fermentation

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