E-number rules are a hurdle to natural preservative use

Related tags Food safety Food

Finding natural ways to preserve foods throughout their shelf life without compromising safety is a major challenge for the food industry. But while technical solutions are emerging, some regulatory hurdles to implementing them remain in Europe.

Purac marketing director Wim van Roekel explains that natural preservatives are being driven largely by consumer desire for clean label products, that is food with no E-numbers nor chemical-sounding ingredients lists.

While Purac has an established reputation for combating listeria, E. coli and salmonella are also targets, as are shelf life problems. The trend towards sodium reduction is also a challenge, as sodium is a powerful antimicrobial. Purac’s aim is to deliver sodium replacement solutions that tackle both shelf-life and taste issues.

But van Roekel points out that in Europe means preservatives have to be labelled by their E-number, even if they are natural solution, and that does not fit with customers’ clean label requirements. In the US, where ingredients can be labelled by name, Purac is able to make faster progress in commercialising its solutions.

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