Potassium Sorbate

What is Potassium Sorbate?

It's a chemical that is formed when potassium salt bonds with sorbic acid, creating a fatty acid salt that is polysaturated. At room temperature, it looks like a white crystalline powder, but the mixture will quickly dissolve in water, which will revert it back to sorbic acid as the potassium dissolves. Some forms of potassium sorbate appear as a yellowish powder which can be dissolved in propylene glycol, ethanol or water to create a preservative with a variety of pH levels.

Potassium sorbate is quite easy to manufacture. A combining potassium hydroxide and sorbic acid will cause a reaction that will create water and potassium hydroxide as the molecules bond. Then the water can be strained off to create a solid form of the chemical, or the potassium sorbate can remain dissolved in the water for liquid applications of the preservative.

Many consider potassium sorbate ideal for applications in foods because it is highly soluble and can be used at a wide range of pH levels, so it can be applied to a number of products without worry that it will break down. Most food monitoring organisations consider the substance to be non-GMO related and kosher so it does not affect the legal distribution of products. Potassium sorbate typically scores well in safety tests and it contains no additional odours or flavors that would disrupt the eating experience when it is added to commercial products.

Uses of Potassium Sorbate

  • Potassium sorbate is found in many food products, especially those which are meant to be stored and eaten at room temperature. This helps to ward off particles such as mould or fungus that can cause foods to spoil or make people sick.
Foods that contain Potassium Sorbate include:
  • Baked good
  • Packaged salads
  • Yoghurts
  • Wine
  • Wax wrappers
  • Bread
  • Packaged fruit pieces
  • Tinned products
  • Cured Meats
  • Coleslaw
  • Pickles
  • Cheese
  • Fruit juice
  • Tuna
  • Ice-Cream
  • Apple Cider
  • Dried Fruits
  • Processed fruits and vegetables 

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