Sodium benzoate (the food additive E211) is benzoic acid compound, which is present in nature in low concentration in such products as prune, cranberry, cinnamon, cloves and apples. Sodium benzoate is a resultant of benzoic acid neutralization by sodium hydroxide. Due to good solubility in water, sodium benzoate is used as a food additive more often in comparison with benzoic acid (the additive E210), which offers not only the stronger preservative properties, but also the low level of solubility at the same time. As for the external appearance, the additive E211 is a white powdery substance without any smell or having slight smell of benzaldehyde. The chemical formula of sodium benzoate is NaC6H5CO2.
The food additive E211 has a suppressive effect on activity level of enzymes in microbial cells, which are responsible for lipolysis, amylolysis and a course of redox reactions. Besides, sodium benzoate is able to produce strong suppressive effect on rain crops, mycelial and aflatoxin fungus as well. Owing to its properties, the additive E211 is used as a preservative in the food industry.
Coming into reaction with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, the additive E300), sodium benzoate can form benzol, which is a potent carcinogen. According to the data from the research of Peter Piper, British scientist and the professor of Sheffield University, such compound can cause a suppressive DNA damage in mitochondria. Consequently, a range of serious diseases can be provoked, such as neurodegenerative diseases, cirrhosis, Parkinson’s Disease etc. The issue of the effect of the additive E211 on the hyperactivity of children is seriously discussed. In 2007, Food Standards Agency of Great Britain carried out the research in this field. Nowadays a number of foreign food companies is seeking for the alternative substitution of the additive E211.
Moreover, the additive E211 can cause the aggravation of diseases and allergic reaction in humans, who have supersensitive skin and suffer from urticarial or asthma.
As has been already mentioned, sodium benzoate is registered as the food additive E211 in Europe and in the world and is widely used in food industry as a preservative and color enhancer for meat and fish products, sweet carbonated beverages, ketchups, margarines, fruit goods, soy sauces, mayonnaise and dainties, containing mayonnaise, preserves and others.
The food additive E211 most frequently occurs in such products as mayonnaise, ketchup, margarine, jam, confectionery, canned fish and caviar, marmalade, fruit butter, non-alcoholic beer and alcoholic drinks with alcohol content fifteen percent and less for 200 mg/l, soft drinks and meat products.
Due to its antibacterial properties, sodium benzoate can be applied in pharmaceutical industry and in production of such cosmetics and toiletry goods as shampoos, gels, toothpastes. It is also used in aircraft industry for protection of galvanic coating and aluminum components. Sodium benzoate can be also applied in fireworks for getting a sound effect.
The food additive E211 is allowed for use in Russia, Ukraine and many other countries, but during last years the usage of the preservative E211 is lowered because of its insecurity for human health.