Sodium benzoate is a widespread food preservative that is found in a number of food products. It is basically a type of salt that is, mostly, chemically prepared to preserve a variety of food products from bacteria, yeast and fungi growth. Food products that are acidic often contain sodium benzoate in small amounts. It goes well as a preservative in foods like cold drinks, vinegar, juice and salad dressings. Sodium benzoate is also occurs naturally in fruits like apples, cranberries and plums. Cloves and cinnamons also have a certain amount of sodium benzoate content in them. Although sodium benzoate is found in certain foods and spices naturally, it does not play the role of a preservative for the foods that it is found in.
The most important of the sodium benzoate properties is that it kills bacteria, yeast or fungi growth. It works the best for foods that have pH balance less than 3.6. It is e211 and its chemical formula is NaC6H5CO2. Also, the concentration of sodium benzoate as a food preservative is limited to 0.1% by weight. Sodium benzoate is soluble in water and its melting point is 300 degrees. The taste of sodium benzoate is salty and it the food bitter, if added in larger quantities.
Sodium benzoate is popularly used as food preservative in a number of acidic food products like salad dressings, cold drinks, jams, fruit juices and others. But apart from that it also has other important uses like:
Sodium benzoate is considered safe for consumption in a fixed range of 647-825 mg/kg of body weight per day. It is concentration in food additives is also limited by the food authorities in different countries. Though sodium benzoate side effects are practically zero, it is important to note that sodium benzoate when mixed with ascorbic acid and potassium benzoate, it forms benzene which is a known carcinogen. Different studies have different points of view about the sodium benzoate side effects. Researchers also claim that sodium benzoate can cause damage to important parts of the DNA. Besides, sodium benzoate has also believed to be on of the key reasons for hyperactivity among kids. Despite all these speculations, nothing has been proved and till the research is going on, it is advisable to cut down on food products and drinks that contain sodium benzoate.