Preservatives – substances that prevent the growth and reproduction of microbes and fungi in food.
Due to the presence of preservatives, products are stored for a long time, retain a pleasant smell, texture. In some cases preservatives prevent the growth of life-threatening microbes, such as botulism, in shelf-stable foods.
Every housewife uses several natural preservatives in the kitchen without even thinking about it. These are ordinary table salt, sugar, citric acid, vinegar and, of course, alcohol. When preparing food for the future, we add these seasonings not so much for taste as for our own safety. In a concentrated saline, sugar solution or in an acidic environment created thanks to citric acid in compotes and vinegar, microbes and fungi do not develop in cucumbers.
In the food industry, in addition to “homemade” preservatives, about a hundred different chemical compounds are used, which also have the properties of disinfecting products, helping to preserve their presentation, color and smell.
The names of these preservatives are sometimes far from concise and do not fit well into the label. That’s why in Europe in 953, it was decided to indicate in the composition of the ingredients not the full chemical name of the food additive, but its code. All additives were subjected to a unified international classification (INS), according to which preservatives were assigned codes E200 – E299.
Read more: Banned Preservatives
Industrial preservatives are now added to almost all food products. but Do not use preservatives in the following products:
flour, bread (except packaged and packaged for long-term storage)
- dietary and baby foods labeled as “natural” or “fresh”
Some of the world famous preservatives prohibited for use in the Russian Federation:
- preservative E216 – para-hydroxybenzoic acid propyl ester
- preservative E217 – para-hydroxybenzoic acid propyl ester sodium salt
- preservative E240 – formaldehyde
When choosing food, keep in mind that:
- the more sour the dish, the less preservatives are added during its manufacture
- the more sugar, salt or alcohol in the product, the less industrial preservatives are required
- 30-40% more preservatives are added to products with a reduced calorie content according to the standard