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E211: Sodium benzoate / Benzoic acid sodium salt
Benzenecarboxylic acid sodium salt; dracylic acid sodium salt; phenylcarboxylic acid sodium salt
Benzoic acid, benzoates and benzoic acid esters are commonly found in most fruits, especially berries. Cranberries are a very rich source of benzoic acid. In addition to fruits, benzoates occur naturally in mushrooms, cinnamon, cloves and some dairy products (as a result of bacterial fermentation). For commercial purposes, it is prepared chemically from toluene.
Function & characteristics:
Benzoic acid and benzoates are used as preservatives against both yeasts and bacteria in acidic products. They are not very effective against fungi, and ineffective in products with a pH above 5 (slightly acidic or neutral). High concentrations have an acid taste, which limits the application. Benzoates are often preferred, due to better solubility.
Benzoic acid and benzoates are used in a wide range of acid or slightly acidic products.
Up to 5 mg/kg body weight.
No side effects in the concentrations used. In some people benzoic acid and benzoates may liberate histamine and thus cause pseudo-allergic reactions.
None – benzoic acid and benzoates can be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians.