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Zentralbl Bakteriol Mikrobiol Hyg B. 1985 Feb;180(2-3):311-8.

[Chemical preservation of food].

[Article in German]


Preservation of foodstuffs has always been a necessity for a number of reasons: the durability of food is limited, numerous foodstuffs are only available during a short harvesting season, the transport routes of food or raw materials from the production site to the consumers are continuously increasing in length and the consumers in modern society characterized by division of labor and changed shopping habits increasingly insist on buying durable products. Beyond this, there are medical-hygienic efforts aimed at inhibiting the growth of micro-organisms in food. The hazard to health which many bacteria carry, has been long known. Recently, a number of fungi have been shown to form toxins during their growth on foodstuffs. There are two methods of food preservation: the physical and the chemical. The greater proportion of foodstuffs is rendered durable by physical procedures: drying, cooling, deep-freezing and heating. But chemical preservation also plays a prominent role. The use of preservatives is often combined with physical methods. The application of preservatives has a long history, such as the use of common salt, smoke or sulfur dioxide. Some of these agents, such as benzoic acid, are achievements of the last century. Others, such as propionic acid and sorbic acid, result from research during the last few decades. The preservatives now in use have been thoroughly tested for their toxicological properties. Their use in the food industry is subject to stringent legal regulations. The consumer can be certain of not running any risk by partaking foods which contain preservatives.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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