Use of Chemical Preservatives

Food Preservation Storage

Lesson 05: Principles and Methods of Food Preservation

Use of Chemical Preservatives

Chemical preservatives are food additives, which are specifically added to prevent the deterioration or decomposition of a food. Chemicals are used to inhibit the factors causing spoilage. These are also used to complement other food preservation techniques.

Preservation of foods by the chemicals is effected by interfering with the cell membrane of the microorganism, their enzyme activity and genetic mechanism; and by acting as antioxidants. In food preservation, the added chemical preservatives may be grouped into two classes.

  • Class I preservatives:
    The first one includes the use of sugar, salt, spices, acetic acid (vinegar) and alcohol, and is referred to as class I preservatives and is considered to be relatively safe to humans.

  • Class II preservatives:
    The second group includes the use of benzoic acid, sulfur dioxide, nitrates and nitrites and a variety of neutralizers, firming agents and bleaching agents and referred to as class II preservatives and is considered to be relatively safe to humans, but within the permissible doses prescribed by the food regulatory bodies of the country because higher concentrations can be a health hazard.
Last modified: Friday, 9 March 2012, 6:48 AM