odium benzoate is a popular preservative used in food, designated E211.It inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold.We deliver the most sodium benzoate together with sweetened beverages.The permissible intake for sodium benzoate is set at 5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.Most people, however, do not provide themselves with such a large amount of diet.In high doses, sodium benzoate can have a detrimental effect on your health.

What is sodium benzoate?

Sodium benzoate is a chemical substance commonly used as a preservative in food.The composition on food packaging is marked with the symbol E211.On an industrial scale, it is obtained by neutralizing benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate.Sodium benzoate is a white solid in the form of a powder or granules with a sweetish taste, odorless, which dissolves well in water and poorly in organic solvents, e.g. alcohol.It exhibits bacteriostatic and fungistatic activity – it inhibits the growth of mold and yeast, and slightly less of butyric and acetic acid bacteria.It does not have a negative impact on the state of lactic acid bacteria, it does not disturb the intestinal microflora.Similarly, benzoic acid (E210) works, however, it is used in the industry much less often because it has worse solubility than its derivative E211.

The enhanced preservative effect of benzoic acid is observed when the product co-exists with sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, kitchen salt, food sugar and sorbic acid.The preservative effect of sodium benzoate is the disintegration of cell membranes of microorganisms present in food and the inhibition of enzymatic reactions occurring in microorganisms.The strongest preservative activity shows an acidic pH in the range 2.5-4.5, thus it is most commonly used in acidic food products.Sodium benzoate is not harmful to the environment.It is easily degraded and does not accumulate in water or soils.


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The use of sodium benzoate in the food industry

Sodium benzoate is a commonly used preservative, especially in the food industry.The branch of industry in which this substance predominates is the production of sweet carbonated and non-carbonated beverages.Currently, benzoates are no longer used for preserving fruit juices, because some microorganisms that are resistant to this compound developed in them, which led to the formation of an unpleasant odor.Sodium benzoate, due to its properties, has been used in preserving food products with acidic pH, such as pulp and fruit purees, jams, marinades, marinated herrings and mackerel, margarine, olives, beer, fruit yoghurts, canned vegetables and salads.

Global production of sodium benzoate amounts to 55,000 – 60,000 tonnes per year, with the largest producers being the Netherlands, Estonia, the United States and China.

The permissible content of sodium benzoate is in fruit pulp, fruit puree, fruit and tomato products, vegetable and fruit-vegetable sauces, concentrates of gelling mixes for low-sugar fruit preserves, vegetable and meat, vegetable and fish and vegetable-fruit salads in unitary non-hermetic packages for retail sale, salad dressings , mayonnaise only with natural additives, low-fat mayonnaise, mustards, butter with reduced fat content, margarines, confectionery, baking and cooking fats, malt extract used in the bakery below 1 g per kg of product,

  • in tomato concentrate stored in barrels as an intermediate below 1.5 g per kg of product,
  • in cooked shrimps and their products below 2 g per kg of product,
  • in carbonated beverages less than 0.15 g per liter,
  • in cola and similar drinks, containing coffee extract below 0,08 g per liter.


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Is sodium benzoate a safe preservative?

Sodium benzoate is considered a substance safe for human health if consumed in amounts of less than 5 mg / kg body weight per day.At this level, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) has been set, which determines what dose of the substance a person can consume daily throughout his life, without suffering damage to health.

Who should avoid sodium benzoate?

Sodium benzoate consumed in excess may exacerbate the symptoms of asthma and allergies and irritate the digestive tract of vulnerable people.It has not been determined how much the excess is exactly, which is why allergy sufferers, asthmatics and persons with gastrointestinal catarrh, irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers should avoid foods containing this preservative.It is also not recommended for people who are allergic to aspirin, because sodium benzoate, like aspirin, is a benzoic acid derivative.

In carbonated beverages that contain sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), a reaction can occur resulting in the formation of benzene.Benzene is an organic compound that in 1900 was suspected of toxic effects on the human body.It causes chronic poisoning, affects the nervous system and destroys the bone marrow.


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