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E239: Hexamethylene tetramine

Hexamine; methenamine

Commercially synthesised from formaldehyde and ammonia

Function & characteristics:
Used as a preservative against fungi.

Caviar, cheese, herring, preserved fish, etc.

Acceptable Daily Intake:
Up to 0.15 mg/kg body weight.

Side effects:
It is metabolised by the liver and excreted. High concentrations have considerable side effects; however, these concentrations are never reached in foods, due to the taste it imparts.

Dietary restrictions:
None E239 can be consumed by all religious groups, vegans and vegetarians.


European Masters Degree in Food Studies - an Educational Journey

Master in Food Safety Law is an initiative of Wageningen University, The Netherlands