19 September 2019
Food Preservatives – Should We Really Be Afraid of Them?
What do you look for in meats, and what you wouldn’t rather want to find? The first place on the list of unwanted ingredients is usually taken by preservatives, but should we really be afraid of them? Let us tell you more about them.
What are preservatives?
Preservatives is a name for the chemical compounds that extend the shelf life of food. It is possible due to killing bacteria that might lead to intoxication of the body. Then, at the outset, let’s mention two things: preservatives do not lead to deterioration of health, but actually they protect it.
Should you avoid preservatives?
People have been using food preservatives for ages, of which examples may be adding sulphur to wine or pickling the meat. Preservatives are not a modern invention. Yet, it was in recent years that people started to have doubts about these substances. It is time to deal with them.
First, meat products cannot contain random additives. All permitted preservatives are regulated by the institutions of the European Union. Countries of UE can only use substances that are safe for consumers. Before a preservative gets on the list, it undergoes toxicological tests and must be approved by the European Food Safety Authority. Additionally, EU also decides on amount of preservatives allowed in articles. This ensures the consumer safety.
What preservatives are used in meat products.
In order to extend the shelf life of cold cuts, producers use sodium nitrite which inhibits the growth of bacteria producing botulinum toxin dangerous to our organism. Don’t be scared when you see this name. This substance has been used in households for centuries for meat pickling. Another chemicals that are used to improve the taste are acetates. They prevent the development of listeria monocytogenes bacterium which causes poisoning and infections much more serious than those cause by salmonella. And now the most important: both of these preservatives naturally occur in the environment in vegetables and fruits.
Summing up, consumers should not bite their nails when hearing or reading about preservatives, because they not only maintain the taste of meat products, but also prevent dangerous bacteria from developing, protecting your health at the same time.