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Sodium Benzoate - Uses

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Sodium benzoate has been used in a wide variety of products because of its antimicrobial and flavor characteristics. It is the most widely used food preservative in the world, being incorporated into both food and soft drink products. It is used in margarine, salsas, maple syrups, pickles, preserves, jams and jellies. Almost every diet soft drink contains sodium benzoate, as do some wine coolers and fruit juices. It is also used in personal care products like toothpaste, dentifrice cleaners, and mouthwashes. As a preservative, sodium benzoate has the advantage of low cost. A drawback is its astringent taste that can be avoided by using lower levels with another preservative like potassium sorbate.

In addition to its use in food, it is used as an intermediate during the manufacture of dyes. It is an antiseptic medicine and a rust and mildew inhibitor. It is also used in tobacco and pharmaceutical preparations. In the free-acid form, it is used as a fungicide. A relatively recent use for sodium benzoate is as a corrosion inhibitor in engine coolant systems. Sodium benzoate has recently been incorporated into plastics, like polypropylene, where it has been found to improve clarity and strength.



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Francis, Frederick. Wiley Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology. New York: Wiley, 1999.

Luck, Erich, and Martin Jager. Antimicrobial Food Additives: Characteristics, Uses, Effects. Springer Verlag, 1997.


The Food Processors Institute. 1350 I Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005. (202)639-5944. <http://www.fpifood.org>.

Institute of Food Technologists. 221 N. LaSalle St., Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60601-1291. (312)782-8424. <http://www.ift.org>.

National Food Processors Association. 1350 I Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005-3305. (202)639-5900. (2003). <http://www.nfpa-food.org>.

Perry T. Romanowski


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—A substance that produces hydrogen ions when placed in an aqueous solution.


—A material that inhibits the growth of microorganisms that cause food to spoil.


—A process by which a compound loses electrons.


—A compound added to food products to ensure they do not spoil.


—The amount of a substance that will dissolve in a solution at a given temperature.

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about 7 years ago

Is there a guide on the correct amount of sodium benzoate for different kinds of food products?
Daniel Ong (Singapore)