Artificial Preservatives – Foods Ingredients and Additives

What are Artificial Preservatives?

A preservative is a substance or a chemical that is added to food products or edibles such as food, beverages, pharmaceutical drugs, and many other products to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes and prevent or retard deterioration thereof.

Artificial Preservatives are the chemical substances that stops of delayed the growth of bacteria, spoilage and its discoloration. These artificial preservatives can be added to the food or sprayed on the food.

Types of Preservatives:

Artificial Preservatives:

Synthetically Produced E.g. Sorbate, Benzoate, TBHQ, EDTA, Polyphosphates etc

Natural Preservatives:

Naturally Produced in Nature e.g. Salt, Sugar, Vinegar etc.

Preservatives are of three types on the basis of functions

  1. Antimicrobial Agents
  2. Antioxidants
  3. Chelating Agents

Antimicrobial Agents

These preservatives are the chemical substances that stops of delayed the growth of bacteria, spoilage and its discoloration.

  • Sorbates
  • Benzoates
  • Propionates
  • Nitrates


These are the chemicals which inhibits the oxidation of food and prevent food spoilage by slowing down the reaction of food with oxygen in the atmosphere.

  • Sulfites
  • Ascorbic Acid: also known as vitamin C
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)

3. Chelating Agents:

Chelating agents are chemicals added to foods in order to bind metal ions such as iron, cobalt and copper which would otherwise exert detrimental effects on the color, texture, aroma of food.

  • EDTA
  • Polyphosphates
  • Citric Acids

FDA Regulations on the Use of Food Preservatives

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Part 582, Subpart D lists chemical preservatives generally recognized as safe. FDA CFR Title 21, Part 172, Subpart B lists food preservatives permitted for direct addition to food for human consumption.

Concentration of Benzoates as a food preservative is limited by the FDA in the U.S. to 0.1% by weight. Under certain circumstances, such as in the presence of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), benzoate salts can produce benzene (carcinogen) in soft drinks; however, the levels of benzene measured do not pose a safety concern for consumers.

The antioxidants, BHA and BHT, propyl gallate and TBHQ are generally recognized as safe for use in food when the total content of antioxidants is not over 0.02 percent of fat or oil content, including essential (volatile) oil content of food provided the substance is used in accordance with good manufacturing or feeding practice.

Leave a Reply