Food preservatives in common use (UPSC CMS)

Food Preservatives which are in common use.

Common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sulfites (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium hydrogen sulfite, etc.) and disodium EDTA. Antioxidants include BHA and BHT. Other preservatives include formaldehyde (usually in solution), glutaraldehyde (kills insects), ethanol and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

Some preservatives, such as acetic acid and citric acid are permitted according to good manufacturing practice. Other preservatives, like sulfurous acid and sulfites can cause serious problems in some asthmatic individuals and regulations permit their use only in low levels. Nitrite and nitrate salts have been determined to be cancer-causing agents and only minimal levels are permitted.

Artificial preservatives are a group of chemical substances added to food, sprayed on the outside of food, or added to certain medications to retard spoilage, discoloration, or contamination by bacteria and other disease organisms.

Preservatives may also be added to wood to prevent the growth of fungi as well as to repel insects and termites. Typically arsenic, copper, chromium, borate, and petroleum based chemical compounds are used.

Categories of preservatives:

1. Class I

• Acetic Acid
• Ascorbic Acid
• Calcium Ascorbate
• Erythorbic Acid
• IsoAscorbic Acid
• Potassium Nitrate
• Sodium Ascorbate
• Sodium Erythorbate
• Sodium IsoAscorbate
• Sodium Nitrate
• Sodium Nitrite
• Wood Smoke
2. Class II

• Benzoic Acid
• Calcium Sorbate
• 4-Hexylresorcinol
• Methyl-r hydroxyBenzoate
• Methyl Paraben
• Potassium Benzoate
• Potassium Bisulphite
• Potassium Metabi-sulphite
• Potassium Sorbate
• Propyl-r-hydroxy Benzoate
• Propyl Paraben
• Sodium Benzoate
• Sodium Bisulphite
• Sodium Metabisulphite
• Sodium Salt of Methyl-r-hydroxy Benzoic Acid
• Sodium Salt of Propyl-r-hydroxy Benzoic Acid
• Sodium Sorbate
• Sodium Sulphite
• Sodium Dithionite
• Sorbic Acid
• Sulphurous Acid

3. Class III

• Calcium Propionate
• Calcium Sorbate
• Natamycin
• Potassium Sorbate
• Propionic Acid
• Sodium Diacetate
• Sodium Propionate
• Sodium Sorbate
• Sorbic Acid

4. Class IV

• Ascorbic Acid
• Ascorbyl Palmitate
• Ascorbyl Stearate
• Butylated Hydroxyanisole
• Butylated Hydroxytoluene
• Citric Acid
• L-Cysteine
• L-Cysteine Hydrochloride
• Gum Guaiacum
• Lecithin
• Lecithin citrate
• Monoglyceride Citrate
• Monoisopropyl Citrate
• Propyl 1 Gallate
• Tartaric Acid
• Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone
• Tocopherols

Question asked in CMS was

100. Consider the following:
1. Ethylene dibromide
2. Potassium meta-bisulphale
3. Sodium benzoate
Which of the above is/ are used as food preservatives?
(a.) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1. 2 and 3

Answer: C
Ethylene dibromide is used as pesticides and as reagent in laboratory.

Read more on food preservatives:

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