The Most Common Methods for Food Preservatives

The Most Common Methods for Food Preservatives

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In today’s world using food preservatives in food or food ingredients is a common practice to save the food from getting damaged. To extend the shelf life of food, some people use methods like drying, freezing, irradiation, and the addition of chemicals which turns out to be an increased demand for packaged foods. The most common methods these of Preservation these days are usually done through chemicals to delay spoilage, enhance color and flavor, and maintain consistency and texture of foods.

Basically, there are 2 modes of preservation by which we can preserve the food with the help of 2 modes of preservation:

  • Physical preservation
  • Chemical preservation

With the Physical preservation it means refrigeration or drying and with the Chemical preservation we refer to the addition of chemical ingredients like Calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, calcium lactate, nitrates and sulfites etc. These ingredients is added to a food for the purpose of preventing potential damage from oxidation, rancidity, microbial growth or other undesirable changes — and is considered a “direct additive.”

Calcium Propionate

Calcium Propionate is considered as the best food preservative and food improver which is generally produced by Propionic Acid and Calcium Hydroxide. It inhibits the growth of mold and other bacteria while increasing the shelf life of bakery foods.

Propionate minimally impacts yeast, when compared to the other preservative options, making them the ingredient of choice for yeast-raised products. Calcium propionate’s common usage is between 300 – 500gm per 100 kg of flour in bread and rolls. It increases nutritional calcium in foods.


Some of the acids come under the category of Acidulants, or food acids, have very different taste profiles. The most common, citric acid, has a lemony taste, while acetic acid has the familiar vinegar flavour.

Moreover, Acidulants like benzoic acid, sorbic acid, lactic acid are additives that give a sharp taste to foods. They also assist in the setting of gels and to act as preservatives.


Antioxidants are beneficial in preventing rancidity in fats ad foods containing fats. Fats exposed to light, moisture, heat or heavy metal ions become activated and oxidize to peroxides. The most used antioxidants are Butylated Hydroxy Anisole(BHA), Butylated Hydroxy Toulene (BHT), Propyl Gallte, natural/synthetic Tocophelos(Vitamin E) Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and lecithin.

BHA With BHT are frequency used in variety of products because they are relatively stable to heat and maintain their effect in cooked products.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and Nitriles have been used as preservative in the meat industry to preserve meat for centuries especially hams, bacon, bologna hotdogs and sausages. Their use produce a cured meat flavor and helps stabilizing the pink color.

Nitriles prevent the growth of Clostridium Botulinum(microorganisms that secret a deadly toxin) grow in anaerobic condition readily found in the interior of ham or in meat that has been vacuum package. However it has been found that that nitrite has the ability to react with amino acids (found in proteins of meat) to form nitrosamines. These compounds have been reported to include liver cancer in animals

Flavour additives

Natural food flavours are rarely used because the methods required to obtain the necessary amounts are expensive. In addition may are not uniform in flavor quality or chemical composition and main availability is dependent on the season.

The flavorings agents commonly used are Exters C pentylacetate responsibilities for banana flavour, aldehyde like bezylaldehyde with cherry flavour.

Other Methods

Apart from chemical preservation there are more modern methods to prerve t,he commercial food production, spoilage and contamination like Dehydration and freeze-drying, Refrigeration, Vacuum Packing, Pasteurization, Canning, Microbial Product–Based Inhibition, Irradiation Organic Acids as Preservatives Inorganic Compounds as Preservatives