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Calcium Benzoate

Calcium Benzoate is the calcium salt of benzoic acid. It is a colorless, white crystal or powder. Benzoates occur naturally in fruit, especially berries. They also occur naturally in cinnamon, cloves and mushrooms. As a result of fermentation, benzoates occur naturally in some dairy products as well. For commercial purposes, benzoates are prepared chemically from toluene.

As a food preservative, calcium benzoate is widely used due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Benzoates are preferred for use as a food preservative over benzoic acids and benzoic acid esters due to better solubility.

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COMMON FOOD ADDITIVES Aluminum Amaranth Aspartame Azodicarbonamide Benzoic Acid Brilliant Black Calcium Benzoate Calcium Sulphite Calcium Stearate Canola Oil Carrageenan Corn Syrup Datem DHC (dihydrocoumarin) Hydrogenated Oil Guar Gum Modified Food Starch Modified Corn Starch MSG Paprika Oleoresin Paraben Potassium Nitrate Red no 2 Sucralose Caramel Yellow 6 Xanthan Gum



The recommended daily intake for calcium benzoate is up to 5 mg/kg body weight. In healthy individuals, there are no known side effects in the concentrations used. In individuals with allergies, there may be side effects, some minor, others serious. People who suffer from asthma and those with allergic conditions such as hay fever, hives and rashes may experience allergic reactions following consumption of foods or drinks containing calcium benzoate or following the use of other products containing the additive.

Individuals with aspirin sensitivity or the skin disease urticaria may also have allergic reactions or their symptoms may become worse following consumption of benzoates. Also, calcium benzoate can temporarily inhibit the function of digestive enzymes and may deplete glycine and amino levels. Headaches and intestine upset may occur.

Calcium benzoate may increase hyperactivity in affected children, so it is not recommended for consumption by children. It is one of the additives that the Hyperactive Children's Support Group (HACSG) recommends be eliminated from the diet of children.


Calcium benzoate is used in a variety of acid and slightly acidic products such as concentrated pineapple juice. Besides drinks, calcium benzoate may also be used as a preservative in cereals, jams, chutney, low-sugar products, margarines, mayonnaise, pickles, salsas and meat products.

Other Uses:

While benzoates are commonly used as a food preservative around the world, they may also be used in personal care products dentifrice cleaners, mouthwash and toothpaste. Benzoates can also be used as an intermediate during the processing of dyes, in tobacco and pharmaceutical preparations and as a fungicide.

Benzoates can be used as a corrosion inhibitor in cooling systems and it can be incorporated into certain types of plastics to improve clarity and strength.