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Preservative (INS 211)

Also Known As : Sodium benzoate, Sodium salt of benzenecarboxylic acid, sodium salt of phenylcarboxylic acid, Benzoate of soda


Taste Profile

The taste of Preservative (INS 211) is salty and it is odourless.

Usage Tips

  1. Preservative (INS 211) helps to preserve acidic foods and beverages such as pickles, salad dressings, fruit juices, and soft drinks.
  2. Preservative (INS 211) is used as a preservative in some medications, particularly in liquid medicines like cough syrup. Additionally, it is used as a lubricant in pill manufacturing and makes tablets transparent and smooth, helping them break down rapidly after you swallow them.

Common names and forms

  1. Permitted Class II Preservative (211)


Do you know what is the most widely used ingredient in acidic foods such as salad dressings , carbonated drinks, jams and fruit juices, pickles, condiments, and frogurt toppings?

It is a preservative commonly known as sodium benzoate. 

What is sodium benzoate?

Sodium benzoate, is an artificially made food additive ( Food additives are the substances that are added to foods in order to either preserve its flavor or enhance its other properties like taste, appearance, or other qualities) obtained by combining benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide. It is the sodium salt of benzoic acid. It’s a white to off-white, odourless crystalline substance found in powder, flake or granule form. It is most popularly used as a preservative since it inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, mold, and other microbes in food, thus preventing spoilage.

Is it okay to consume it?

Being an artificial preservative, sustained and excessive consumption of this preservative can weaken heart tissues which is dangerous especially for the aged people. There is an unquestionable concern that sodium benzoate may be linked to initiating cancer, as it can break down into benzene – a known carcinogen.  However, the amount of benzene likely to be found in any product containing sodium benzoate is small. It has been found by the FDA that such trace amounts are not directly harmful to human health.

How to make the right choice ?

Look closely at ingredient lists and try to avoid products that include sodium benzoate.

Health benefits

  • Reduces inflammation - Sodium benzoate can bring down the levels of inflammation and help treat autoimmune diseases.(1)
  • Improves mental conditions like Schizophrenia - It has been found out that consuming sodium benzoate helps improve schizophrenia, a mental disorder.(2)
  • Reduces depression and panic disorder - Intake of sodium benzoate has been linked to a reduction in depression and also panic disorder.(2)

Selection Guide

When buying Preservative (INS 211), check the food grade mark and expiry date on the package. The package should be well-sealed and free from moisture.  


Studies have linked the consumption of Preservative (INS 211) with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) in people especially children. Some people may experience allergic reactions like itching and swelling after consuming foods containing sodium benzoate.(3) Preservative (INS 211) when mixed with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) transforms into benzene, a substance that can cause cancer.(4)

- Disclaimer
"Information here is provided for discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or product or ingredient review/rating. The information may not apply to you and before you use or take any action, you should contact the manufacturer, seller, medical, dietary, fitness or other professional. If you utilize any information provided here, you do so at your own risk and you waive any right against Culinary Communications Private Limited, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees or representatives.”