What is sodium benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a commonly used food preservative found in a variety of processed and packaged foods. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid, a naturally occurring compound in many plants. Sodium benzoate is primarily used to increase the shelf life of foods by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds, which helps prevent spoilage.

What is sodium benzoate

When sodium benzoate is added to food products, it can help maintain their freshness and quality for longer periods of time. It is often used in products such as soft drinks, fruit juices, jams, sauces, condiments, pickles and some canned foods. Sodium benzoate is particularly effective in acidic environments, which is why it is commonly used in products with a low pH.

However, there have been some concerns about the safety of sodium benzoate due to its ability to form a compound called benzene under certain conditions. Benzene is a chemical compound that is known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) when taken in high amounts. Benzene is formed from sodium benzoate when it is exposed to high temperature and/or light, especially in the presence of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). As a result, some regulations limit the use of sodium benzoate in certain products containing vitamin C.

Overall, sodium benzoate is considered safe for consumption when used within established regulatory limits. Food regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have set guidelines for its use in foods to ensure that its consumption remains at a safe level.