Preservatives approved for use in food by the European Commission

Food additives permitted in the EU: preservatives

Below is a review of some of preservatives present in the list of food additives approved in the European Community on the basis of the European Commission regulation No 1129/2011 published on 11 November 2011. Such list is an amendment of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament, that was then modified in 2013. It is possible to consult the list in its entirety, in the different European languages and both in PDF and HTML format, by following the link in the References.

E200, E201, E202, E203, E210, E211, E212, E213, E214, E215, E218, E219, E220, E221, E222, E223, E224, E225, E226, E227, E228, E234, E2355, E239, E242, E249, E250, E251, E252, E280, E282, E282, E283, E284, E285
Preservatives: sorbic acid and its salts
E200     Sorbic acid
E202     Potassium sorbate
E203     Calcium sorbate
Preservatives: benzoic acid and its salts
E210     Benzoic acid
E211     Sodium benzoate
E212     Potassium benzoate
E213     Calcium benzoate
E214     Ethyl p-hydroxyhenzoate
E215     Sodium ethyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E218     Methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
E219     Sodium methyl p-hydroxybenzoate
Preservatives: sulphur dioxide and its salts
E220     Sulphur dioxide
E221     Sodium sulphite
E222     Sodium hydrogen sulphite
E223     Sodium metabisulphite
E224     Potassium metabisulphite
E226     Calcium sulphite
E227     Calcium hydrogen sulphite
E228     Potassium hydrogen sulphite
Other preservatives
E234     Nisin
E235     Natamycin (NATA, for surface treatment of cheeses and dried cured sausages)
E239     Hexamethylene tetramine (hexamine)
E242     Dimethyl dicarbonate
Preservatives: pickling salts
E249     Potassium nitrite
E250     Sodium nitrite
E251     Sodium nitrate
E252     Potassium nitrate (saltpetre)
Acids and their salts
E280    Propionic acid
E281    Sodium propionate
E282    Calcium propionate
E283    Potassium propionate
E284    Boric acid
E285    Sodium tetraborate: borax
  1. Bender D.A. “Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology” 8th ed. Woodhead Publishing. Oxford, 2006
  2. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011 of 11 November 2011 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing a Union list of food additives.

Biochemistry, metabolism, and nutrition