What is potassium sorbate?
Potassium sorbate is a chemical additive. It’s widely used as a preservative in foods, drinks, and personal care products. It is an odorless and tasteless salt synthetically produced from sorbic acid and potassium hydroxide.
Potassium sorbate prolongs the shelf life of foods by stopping the growth of mold, yeast, and fungi. It was discovered in the 1850s by the French, who derived it from berries of the mountain ash tree. Its safety and uses as a preservative have been researched for the last fifty years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes it as generally safe when used appropriately.
What is potassium sorbate found in?
You’ll find potassium sorbate on the list of ingredients for many common foods. It’s a popular preservative because it’s effective and doesn’t change the qualities of a product, such as taste, smell, or appearance. It’s also water-soluble, and it works at room temperature.
You may find it added to many food products, such as:
l apple cider
l baked goods
l canned fruits and vegetables
l dried meats
l dried fruit
l ice cream
l soft drinks and juices
Potassium sorbate is used as an antimicrobial and preservative in personal care items, as well, such as:
eyeshadow and other cosmetics
shampoos and moisturizers
contact lens solution
Potassium sorbate is also approved for safe use as a preservative in moist cat and dog foods and in other animal feed.
Is potassium sorbate safe to eat?
Regulatory agencies such as the FDA, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have determined that potassium sorbate is “generally regarded as safe,” abbreviated as GRAS. When you eat potassium sorbate as a food additive, it passes through your system harmlessly as water and carbon dioxide. It does not accumulate in your body.