Preservatives codes: 200–299; Subranges: 200–209 sorbates, 210–219 benzoates, 220–229 sulphites, 230–239 phenols & formates (methanoates), 240–259 nitrates, 260–269 acetates (ethanoates), 270–279 lactates, 280–289 propionates (propanoates), 290–299 others.
Here there is a list with food additives used as preservatives:

CodeNameDescriptionRiskUser Rate
E200Sorbic acidSorbic acid naturally occurs in the fruit of the European Mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia). Sorbic acid is a preservative, mainly against fungi and yeasts. It is used in a wide range of products. Daily intake: Up to 25 mg/kg body weight. Only a very small percentage of people show slight pseudo-allergic reactions.suspicious-
E201Sodium sorbateSodium salt of sorbic acid. See E200 for similar details.unknown-
E202Potassium sorbatePotassium salt of sorbic acid. See E200 for similar details.unknown-
E203Calcium sorbateCalcium salt of sorbic acid. See E200 for similar details.unknown-
E209Heptyl p-hydroxybenzoate, heptylparabenHeptyl para-hydroxybenzoate is the heptyl ester of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. They are widely used as preservatives that inhibit the growth of yeast, fungi, and bacteria. Heptyl para-hydroxybenzoate is not pH sensitive. Commercially it is synthetically made from toluene, which is then esterified.avoid-
E210Benzoic acidBenzoic acid, and benzoates (211-219), are commonly found in many natural foods (cinnamon, cloves, and mushrooms), but especially in fruit, largely berries (cranberry). It is largely used for making its salts and esters, which are widely used as preservatives that inhibit the growth of yeast, fungi, and bacteria in acidic foods where the pH of the foods and beverages are below pH 3.6. Commercially it is synthetically made from toluene. A preservatives against both yeasts and fungi in acidic products. Daily intake: Up to 5 mg/kg body weight. Best avoided by people with allergy reactions as it can cause a rash similar to nettle rash with large quantities also causing gastric irritation. When combined with Tartrazine (E102) it provokes a very high hyperactive response in children. Can cause asthma, especially in those dependent on steroid asthma medications, is also reputed to cause neurological disorders and to react with sodium bisulphite (E222).avoid-
E211Sodium benzoate, benzoate of sodaSee 210 for similar details. In combination with ascorbic acid (E300), sodium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.danger-
E212Potassium benzoateSee 210 for similar details. In combination with ascorbic acid (E300), potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen. However, in most beverages that contain both, the benzene levels are below those considered dangerous for consumption. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.danger-
E213Calcium benzoateSee 210 for similar details.avoid-
E214Ethylparaben, Ethyl para-hydroxybenzoateEthyl ester of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight. avoid-
E215Sodium ethylparaben, Sodium ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate Sodium salt of ethylparaben (E214). See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight. unknown-
E216Propylparaben, Propyl para-hydroxybenzoateThe propyl ester of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, occurs as a natural substance found in many plants and some insects, although it is manufactured synthetically for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and foods. See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight. danger-
E217Sodium propyl para-hydroxybenzoateSodium salt of propylparaben (E216). See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight.danger-
E218Methylparaben, methyl para-hydroxybenzoateMethyl ester of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight.avoid-
E219Sodium methyl para-hydroxybenzoateThe sodium salt of methylparaben (E218). See 210 for similar details. Daily intake: Up to 10 mg/kg body weight.avoid-
E220Sulphur dioxideSulphur dioxide is a colourless gas that is prepared by burning sulphur. Sulphur is naturally occurring in coal and petroleum products. It is highly soluble in water and it's this resultant acid, Sulphurous acid, that imparts its use as a preservative. It's antimicrobial in action which prevents the enzymatic and bacterial spoilage of food, and improves the overall appearance of food, making it look fresher than it might be. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. It is known to provoke asthma attacks and is difficult to metabolise for those with impaired kidney function. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E.avoid-
E221Sodium sulphiteSodium sulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial, an anti-oxidant, and an anti-browning agent. Used in wine, beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, fruit drinks, vinegar, potato products, condiments, processed fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, etc. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. May provoke asthma attacks and is difficult to metabolise for those with impaired kidney function. It also destroys vitamins B1 and E. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E222Sodium bisulphite, Sodium hydrogen sulphiteIt is a salt of sulphurous acid. Sodium bisulphite is also added to leafy green vegetables in salad bars and elsewhere, to preserve apparent freshness, under names like LeafGreen. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. The concentration is sometimes high enough to cause severe allergic reactions. May cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially asthmatics. Destroys vitamins B1 and E. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E223Sodium metabisulphite, sodium pyrosulphiteSodium metabisulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial, an anti-oxidant, and an anti-browning agent. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. May cause allergic reactions, particularly skin irritation, gastric irritation and asthma. Destroys vitamins B1 and E. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E224Potassium metabisulphitePotassium metabisulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial, an anti-oxidant, and an anti-browning agent. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. Can cause asthma, cyanosis, faintness and even unconsciousness. Destroys vitamins B1 and E. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E225Potassium sulphitePotassium sulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial, an anti-oxidant, and an anti-browning agent. Used in wine, beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, fruit drinks, vinegar, potato products, condiments, processed fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, etc. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. May cause allergic reactions. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E226Calcium sulphiteCalcium sulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial and an anti-oxidant in action which prevents the enzymatic and bacterial spoilage of food, and improves the overall appearance of food, making it look fresher than it might be. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. May cause asthma. A gastric irritant. Destroys vitamins B and E. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E227Calcium hydrogen sulphite, Calcium metabisulphite, Calcium bisulphiteCalcium hydrogen sulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial and an anti-oxidant. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. May cause allergic reaction. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E228Potassium hydrogen sulphite, Potassium bisulphitePotassium hydrogen sulphite is a salt of sulphurous acid. It's anti-microbial and an anti-oxidant. Daily Intake: Up to 0.7 mg/kg body weight. People who are intolerant towards natural sulphites should also avoid added sulphites (E221-228).avoid-
E230Biphenyl, diphenyl, phenylbenzeneBiphenyl occurs naturally in small amounts in crude oil, but is predominantly produced from benzene. The white water-insoluble powder is an anti-fungal and used as a preservative to inhibit the growth of moulds, and fungi on citrus fruit during shipment, transportation and storage. Sometimes fruits are dipped in a solution of diphenyl, which slowly penetrates the peel and may be present in the fruit itself. Sensitivity has been reported for people handling large consignments of citrus fruits (ships, trucks).avoid-
E231Orthophenyl phenolOrthophenyl phenol is a synthetically made powdered agricultural fungicide and anti-microbial agent. It is applied post-harvest as a surface treatment to citrus fruit, to inhibit the growth of moulds, fungi and bacteria during shipment, transportation and storage. It slowly penetrates the peel and may be present in the fruit itself. It is also used for disinfection of seed boxes. It is a general surface disinfectant, used in households, hospitals, nursing homes, farms, laundries, barber shops, and food processing plants.avoid-
E232Sodium orthophenyl phenolSodium orthophenyl phenol is the salt of orthophenyl phenol. See E231 for similar details. Used especially against Penicillium fungi growing on citrus fruits, apples and pears. It is very soluble in water, and used for spraying or dipping fruits. It slowly penetrates the skin and may be present in the fruit itself.avoid-
E233ThiabendazoleIt is a fungicide that is used to control mould, rot and other fungal diseases on fruit, especially citrus and bananas. It also acts as a preservative to help fruits look fresher and more appealing, and can also be used in conjunction with waxes. Used in sauces, gravies, dressings, drinks (carbonated, non-carbonated, fruit and vegetable juices), and bakery items. It is also an antiparasitic.avoid-
E234NisinNisin is a polypeptide (short protein), natural, broad spectrum antibiotic produced by the bacterium Lactococcus lactis. Used as a preservative against Gram-positive spoilage bacteria. Used in sauces, gravies, dressings, drinks (carbonated, non-carbonated, fruit and vegetable juices), and bakery items. Daily Intake: Up to 33000 units/kg body weight. As it is a protein, it is treated by the body as such, and digested in the small intestine. suspicious-
E235Natamycin, PimaracinNatamycin is a natural antibiotic produced by the bacterium Streptomyces natalensis and related strains. It is used as a preservative by specifically inhibiting the growth of fungi, moulds, and yeasts. Daily Intake: Up to 0.3 mg/kg body weight. In humans, a dose of 500 mg/kg/day repeated over multiple days caused nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.suspicious-
E236Formic acidFormic acid occurs naturally in stinging nettles, and in the stings and bites of many insects, notably bees and ants. Commercially it is chemically produced. It acts as a preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent. Daily intake: Up to 3 mg/kg bodyweight. High concentrations are diuretic and allergic.unknown-
E237Sodium formateSodium formate is the sodium salt of formic acid. See E236 for similar details. Commercially it is chemically produced. It acts as a preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent.unknown-
E238Calcium formateCalcium formate is the sodium salt of formic acid. See E236 for similar details. Commercially it is chemically produced. It acts as a preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent.unknown-
E239Hexamine, hexamethylene tetramineHexamine is chemically produced by combining formaldehyde and ammonia. It acts as a preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent. Used in processed and cured meats, luncheon meats, bacon, sausages, ham, hot dogs, salami, smoked and cured fish. Daily Intake: Up to 0.15 mg/kg body weight. High concentrations have considerable side effects; however, these concentrations are never reached in foods, due to the taste it imparts.avoid-
E240FormaldehydeFormaldehyde is formed naturally by smoking or heating protein-rich foods. Commercially synthesised from methanol. It is not used in foods, but used to disinfect containers, pipes and vessels in the food industry, it is (was) also largely used in wood industry. In some Asian countries there are cases with illegal uses of formaldeyde in some foods. Daily Intake: Up to 0.15 mg/kg body weight. In humans, the ingestion of formaldehyde has been shown to cause vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, and in extreme cases can cause death. Known to be a human carcinogen and otherwise very toxic.danger-
E242Dimethyl dicarbonate, DMDCDimethyl dicarbonate is chemically manufactured in Germany and is used as a preservative and as an anti-bacterial agent in a process called cold-sterilisation. Dimethyl dicarbonate is added to drinks before they are filtered, so as to destroy any organisms which might be present. DMDC is sometimes used as a preservative in wine as a replacement to sulfur dioxide (E220). No side effects.safe-
E249Potassium nitritePotassium nitrite is a naturally occurring mineral salt that can be extracted, or be synthetically produced from potassium nitrate. It acts as a curing agent, a preservative, an anti-bacterial agent to inhibit the growth of the botulism-causing bacterium (Clostridium botulinum), and as a colour retention agent. Daily Intake: Up to 0.06 mg/kg body weight. Nitrites are precursors of (possibly carcinogenic) nitrosamines, which are formed in the stomach. High concentrations may react with haemoglobin. It is not allowed in products intended for children under 1 year. Little children have a different type of haemoglobin, which is much more reactive towards nitrites than normal haemoglobin.danger-
E250Sodium nitriteSodium nitrite is a naturally occurring mineral salt that can be extracted, or be synthetically produced from sodium nitrate. It acts as a curing agent, a preservative, an anti-bacterial agent to inhibit the growth of the botulism-causing bacterium (Clostridium botulinum), and as a colour retention agent that fixes the colour of meats and fish. Daily Intake: Up to 0.06 mg/kg body weight. May provoke hyperactivity and other adverse reactions. Nitrites are precursors of (possibly carcinogenic) nitrosamines, which are formed in the stomach. High concentrations may react with haemoglobin. It is not allowed in products intended for children under 6 months. Little children have a different type of haemoglobin, which is much more reactive towards nitrites than normal haemoglobin.danger-
E251Sodium nitrate, Chile saltpeterSodium nitrate is a naturally occurring mineral salt that can be mined and extracted from caliche, or be synthetically produced. It can also be found in many vegetables, especially leafy greens. It acts as a curing agent, a preservative, an anti-bacterial agent. Daily Intake: Up to 3.7 mg/kg body weight. It forms nitrosamines - human carcinogens known to cause DNA damage and increased cellular degeneration.danger-
E252Potassium nitrate, SaltpetrePotassium nitrate is a naturally occurring mineral salt that can be mined and extracted, or be synthetically produced. It acts as a curing agent, a preservative, an anti-bacterial agent. As a food preservative it is one of the most effective (and oldest) ways of preserving meat. Daily intake: Up to 3.7 mg/kg body weight. Whilst in general it is rapidly excreted, under some specific conditions it may be converted in the stomach and saliva to potassium nitrite, which can prevent haemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles performing as an oxygen carrier. This can lead to cyanosis. May provoke hyperactivity and other adverse reactions.danger-
E260Acetic acid, ethanoic acidAcetic acid is a natural acid produced by bacterial fermentation and oxidation of natural products or ethanol. Commercially it's produced by the oxidation of acetaldehyde. It acts as a preservative, acidity regulator (acidulant), and anti-microbial agent, and is highly effective against bacteria and fungi. It is also used as a flavour enhancer to impart a biting, sour or tangy taste. No side effects, it is a normal component of all body cells. Should only be avoided by people who have a (very rare) vinegar intolerance.safe-
E261Potassium acetatePotassium salt of acetic acid. See E260 for similar details. Should be avoided by people with impaired kidney function.suspicious-
E262Sodium acetate, Sodium diacetate (sodium hydrogen acetate)Sodium salt of acetic acid, an natural acid, present in most fruits. Produced by bacterial fermentation and thus present in all fermented products. Commercially produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar, molasses or alcohol or by chemical synthesis from acetealdehyde. Daily intake: Up to 15 mg/kg body weight . Should only be avoided by people who have a (very rare) vinegar intolerance. suspicious-
E263Calcium acetate Calcium salt of acetic acid, an natural acid, present in most fruits. Produced by bacterial fermentation and thus present in all fermented products. Commercially produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar, molasses or alcohol or by chemical synthesis from acetealdehyde. Should only be avoided by people who have a (very rare) vinegar intolerance.suspicious-
E264Ammonium acetateCalcium salt of acetic acid, an natural acid, present in most fruits. Produced by bacterial fermentation and thus present in all fermented products. Commercially produced by bacterial fermentation of sugar, molasses or alcohol or by chemical synthesis from acetealdehyde. It is also used as a flavour enhancer to impart a biting, sour or tangy taste. Should only be avoided by people who have a (very rare) vinegar intolerance. It can cause vomiting.avoid-
E265Dehydroacetic acidDehydroacetic acid is a pyrone derivative used mostly as a fungicide and bactericide. It is used to reduce pickle bloating as a preservative for squash and strawberries. Also used in antienzyme toothpastes.unknown-
E266Sodium dehydroacetateThe sodium salt, sodium dehydroacetate, is often used in place of dehydroacetic acid because of its greater solubility in water. See E265 for similar details.unknown-
E270Lactic acidLactic acid is a natural acid produced by the fermentation of lactose (milk sugar). It is produced commercially from the bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates and molasses. It acts as a preservative, acidity regulator, and anti-microbial agent which is highly effective against bacteria, fungi and yeast. Also produced in body during intensive exercises. No side effects in adults. D- or DL-lactates (stereoisomers) should not be given to babies and small children, as they have not yet developed the appropriate enzymes in the liver to metabolise these forms of lactate.suspicious-
E280Propionic acidPropionic acid occurs naturally in fermented food. Commercially it is chemically produced from ethylene, carbon monoxide, natural gas, fermented wood or from propionaldehyde. Propionic acid and it's propionate salts (sodium, calcium and potassium) are the main preservatives in breads, bakery goods, and flour products. They are also anti-microbial agents against bacteria, fungi, predominately against moulds. Used in breads, bakery and flour based products, pizzas, cheese, and diary products. It is a short chain fatty acid and some researces say that in some cases may worsen symptoms in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), epilepsy and some inheritable metabolic disorders due to the elevated level of propionic acid when person has some metabolic disorders (such as propionic acidemia, methylmalonic acidemia, disorders of biotin metabolism, B12 deficiency).avoid-
E281Sodium propionateSodium salt of propionic acid. See E280 for similar details.avoid-
E282Calcium propionateCalcium salt of propionic acid. See E280 for similar details.suspicious-
E283Potassium propionatePotassium salt of propionic acid. See E280 for similar details.avoid-
E284Boric acidBoric acid is a natural mineral acid and is commercially produced from borate and sulphuric acid. As a food additive, it acts as a preservative and acidity regulator. Rarely used in foods, but has many industrial applications. Daily intake: Up to 0.1 mg/kg body weight. In high doses can cause several severe side effects, as kidney damage. It is poisonous if taken internally or inhaled in large quantities.avoid-
E285Sodium tetraborate, BoraxSodium salt of boric acid. See E284 for similar details. Borax has many industrial uses including as an added ingredient in washing powder, water softeners and soaps, added to clay, etc. It is used on, not in foods, as an inorganic herbicide or insecticide. It is not permitted in some countries however, borax and boric acid are sometimes illegally added to foods to improve colour, texture and flavour.avoid-
E290Carbon dioxideCarbon dioxide is a natural gas that's formed by the complete oxidation of carbon. It is used as a preservative, propellant and as a packaging gas that displaces oxygen in foods to inhibit the growth of bacteria which cause food spoilage, and to reduce the speed of oxidation. It is used in the carbonation of soft drinks by adding carbon dioxide to water forming carboxylic acid. safe-
E296Malic acidMalic acid is a natural acid present in most fruits and many vegetables. Commercially made by chemical synthesis. It is part of the metabolic pathway of every living cell. Irritant. High concentrations are not permitted in infant food, as small children lack the capacity to metabolise large amounts of malic acid.suspicious-
E297Fumaric acidFumaric acid is a natural acid widely found in plants (genus Fumaria officianalis) and in nature. It can be made by the catalytic oxidation of benzene or by bacterial fermentation on glucose. It produces a white odourless crystalline powder that is the strongest organic food acid in tartness and sourness. It acts as an acidity regulator, anti-oxidant, flavour, and a raising agent in flour based, baked goods. A fumaric acid ester is currently under investigation for treatment of multiple sclerosis. It converts to the irritant maleic anhydride, upon partial combustion.safe-

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