Calcium Propionate (E282) – Health Risks & Side Effects

Calcium Propionate (E282) – Health Risks, Side Effects, Uses:

Calcium propionate, also known as calcium salt and propanoic acid, is a food additive used in the food industry to extend the shelf life of products (preservatives).

This additive is industrially obtained from propionic acid and calcium oxide.

The chemical term of the 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.

It is GRAS regulated by the FDA in Article 21CFR184.1221 in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Chemical Formula


Is It Vegan?

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


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.

Dairy Products

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 E282 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.

E282 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, and 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 E282 on the body.


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 membranes 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 of taking medicine. In addition, allergic reactions can occur within hours, and even days later.

You may experience some or all of these symptoms after ingesting foods with E282:

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

The most severe type of allergic reaction is called – anaphylaxis.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include throat or facial swelling, hives, light-headedness, wheezing, shock, and vomiting.


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

Hyperactivity In Children

Hyperactivity is a classic sign of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

According to Chris Young, coordinator of the ”Real Bread Campaign,” a campaign which aims to increase the production of bread made with natural ingredients:

“Over years several questions have been raised over this and other additives used.

Calcium propionate, for example, has been linked to hyperactivity in children and skin irritations in bakery workers.”

High Blood Sugar

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, established that the intake fo foods or drinks with this food additive cause the liver to produce high levels of blood glucose (sugar), that, in turn, led to high levels of insulin in the blood.

Heavy Metals Toxicity

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

Heavy metals (including cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury) are persistent in the environment and have been scientifically documented with 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.


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


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