Calcium Propionate (E282) - Health Risks, Side Effects, Uses

Calcium propionate, also known as calcium salt and propanoic acid, is a food additive used in food industry to extend the shelf life of products (preservative). This additive is industrially obtained from propionic acid and calcium oxide.

The chemical term of E282 additive is calcium propionate. This additive is prepared by hydrolyzing calcium hydroxide with propionitrile (also known as propanenitrile), resulting in ammonia and E282.

After the removal of ammonia, the reaction mixture is neutralized with an antifungal agent – propionic acid, which reacts with excess calcium hydroxide to form additional E282.

Chemical Formula

C6H10CaO4

Is It Vegan?

Because it is a chemical, easily synthesized without needing to be extracted from any animal sources, this compound is vegan-friendly.

Uses

Chemical preservatives are added to almost all processed foods to extend the shelf life and prevent spoilage. They work by inhibiting the metabolic activity and growth of microbes.

It is successfully used in the following products: pre-packaged sliced bread and superficial treatment of cheese. Also, it is naturally found in fermented foods and matured cheese. As a side note, due to its synthesized formula, without the need to be extracted from any animal source, this substance is considered vegan-friendly.

The need to use this additive in the food industry lies in its fungistatic effect, preventing the mildew of foods, such as bread and bakery products. This substance works primarily as an inhibitor. In simple terms, this means that it works within a substance to stop the energy source that any development of bacteria would depend upon.

As a result, this compound prevents even naturally occurring bacteria from feeding since it destroys or at least blocks the enzymes that provide important fuel for bacterial growth.

The additive has a weaker action against bacteria and yeasts. As well as other salts of propionic acid, it acts by reducing water activity. Propionic acid salts are preferred, because of their characteristic taste, which is weaker than the taste of the acid they derive from.

Where Can You Find It?

Foods containing E282 include dairy products, baked goods, processed meats (including canned fish and shellfish), dairy and some vegetable products, egg and fat-based desserts.

Some cheeses, such as Swiss cheese or Emmentaler, contain naturally occurring E282, which develops as the cheese ripens and acts as a preservative in the cheese. Also, it is used in sports drinks and beverages. In addition, it can be found in alcoholic beverages such as malt beverages, beer, cider and distilled spirits with more than 15% alcohol.

Storage And Shelf-Life 

You should keep in a cool, dry place for 1 year in a sealed bag.

Calcium Propionate – Health Risks (E282) And Side Effects

The available data regarding the effects of this substance are few or come from unfinished or faulty studies. However, there have been a few studies that have examined the effects of this food additive on the body.

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Allergy

Allergic reactions are the hyper immune response of the immune system to foreign substances. When certain foreign substances (like food additive) are ingested into the body, the immune system is triggered.

One effect worth mentioning (after consuming foods with this food additive) is irritation of mucous membrane in the digestive system. This effect is reversible (disappears after cessation of use) and it was noticed in the case of an amount 2-3 times greater than the daily amount consumed by people. In some cases, it can also cause allergies, intolerances, eczema, skin rashes etc.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction typically happen within 60 minutes after taking a medicine. In addition, allergic reactions can occur hours, and even days later.

You may experience some or all of these symptoms after ingesting foods with this food additive:

  • Wheezing;
  • Swollen lips, face, or tongue;
  • Itchy skin;
  • Rash;
  • Hives (irregular patches on the skin).

The most severe type of an allergic reaction is called – anaphylaxis. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include throat or facial swelling, hives, light-headedness, wheezing, shock. and vomiting.

Note

The chances of developing an allergy reaction increase when you regularly consume foods and drinks containing this food additive.

Heavy Metals Toxicity

Every day, we are exposed to some type of heavy metal toxin, whether it’s the water we drink, the air, or the food we eat.

Heavy metals (including cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury) are persistent in the environment and have been scientifically documented the potential for life-threatening health consequences. For instance, heavy metal toxicity may damage:

  • bones;
  • endocrine glands;
  • liver;
  • kidneys;
  • lungs;
  • gastrointestinal system;
  • cardiovascular system;
  • central nervous system.

This additive is an additional source of heavy metals, therefore, in order to exclude any negative effects, people should avoid it as much as possible. Lastly, it is not recommended for children and pregnant or lactating women.

Tip

The first step in treating (and preventing) heavy metal toxicity is to identify the toxic elements and start the removal process.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9710771
https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3779
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816300552
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040603100003713

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