Calcium propionate is a white crystalline solid or powder with odors resembling propionate acids. It is produced from calcium hydroxide and propionic acid.
It is listed as E number 282 in the Codex Alimentarius. The US Food and Drug Administration recommended that the daily intake of E282 for adults is 1 mg/kg/d.
The US Food and Drug Administration classifies it under the category “generally recognized as safe.”
It has a broad antibacterial activity against yeast bacteria and mold bacteria, inhibiting the propagation of microorganisms, and can be used as a preservative for bread and pastries and a fungicide on food.
The calcium propionate market is estimated to grow from $220.6 million in 2012 to $312.7 million by 2018. In terms of revenue, North America leads the market, followed by the European Union.
Uses of E282
In agriculture, this substance is used to prevent milk fever (a metabolic disease caused by a low blood calcium level) in cows.
Moreover, it is added to animal feeds as it inhibits the growth of mold and other microorganisms in them.
It also has some applications in the manufacture of butyl rubber (a synthetic rubber, a copolymer of isobutylene with isoprene). Adding it to the raw product makes it significantly easier to process the rubber. In addition, it protects the rubber from scorching during the manufacturing process.
E282 can be used as a fungicide on fruits, including lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits.
It is also used as a preservative in numerous products, such as:
It is found in the following beverages:
- diet beverages;
- sports drinks;
- alcoholic drinks, like – malt beverages, beer, cider and distilled spirits with more than 15% alcohol.
This preservative is found in the following milk and dairy products:
- dairy-based spreads;
- dairy desserts, like flavored puddings and yogurts;
- ripened, unripened and processed cheeses;
- flavored milk and yogurt drinks;
- dried and condensed milk;
- whey, yogurt, or kefir.
Note – Some types of cheese, like – Emmentaler of Swiss cheese, have naturally occurring calcium propionate, that develops as the cheese ripens and acts as a natural preservative in the cheese.
E282 has been widely used as a preservative in bakery products and bread. It helps keep the baked goods fresh by preventing bacterial and mold growth which would cause them to go bad.
The antimicrobial action of E282 is based on its dissociation process to produce undissociated propionate acid, that could diffuse across the cytoplasmic membrane.
It is found in the following processed meats:
- canned fish and shellfish;
- sausage casings;
- poultry products;
- meat pastes;
- deli meats;
- canned meats.
Vegetables, Nuts, Mushrooms
E282 is found in the following processed nuts and vegetables:
- nut butter;
- canned beans;
- dried or processed mushrooms;
- soy sauce;
- potato salad.
Side Effects of Calcium Propionate
Note – Allergic reactions usually occur when the body’s immune system recognizes some protein in the food as foreign and tries to prevent the allergen from entering the body.
Reports of allergic reactions to this food preservative have included the following:
- Migraine headaches
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Behavior and mood changes
- Joint aches
- Muscle aches
- Asthma symptoms
- Abdominal pain
- Atopic dermatitis
Restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and inattention in some kids may be caused by this preservative which can be found in a variety of foods that are consumed daily, according to a 2012 study that was published in the “Journal of Paediatric Child Health.”
Note – it is essential for families to know what to look for in their kids’ changing behaviors and moods to distinguish the normal, and occasional extreme ups and downs of development, from the beginnings of a psychological disorder which needs to be medically treated.
This preservative has the potential to permanently damage the stomach lining by exacerbating gastritis and inducing stomach ulcers.
According to statistics, about 1 out of every 10 American adults experience a stomach ulcer at some point in their lives.
The most common symptom of a stomach ulcer is a gnawing pain which develops in the abdomen.
Note – stomach ulcers are not usually life-threatening. But, in some sufferers, ulcers may perforate (make a hole in the duodenum or the stomach) or the area around them may become scarred. The warning signs include:
- severe and incapacitating abdominal pains;
- anemia (paleness and fatigue);
- unintended weight loss;
- black or tar-like stools (containing digested blood which is lost from the stomach ulcer);
- vomit with the appearance of dark coffee grounds or fresh blood;
- persistent vomiting and nausea;
- difficult regurgitation or swallowing.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
It is recommended that pregnant or lactating women avoid foods that contain this food preservative.
If you’d like to avoid consuming E282, there is only one surefire method: eat foods in their natural state and avoid processed foods.