3/12/2013 11:54:00 PM,
Philip A. Janquart
WASHINGTON (DC) - The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has amended regulations that once banned the use of sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid in meat and poultry products, the Food and Drug Administration said.
The three preservatives had been on the list of prohibited antimicrobial substances the FSIS considered to have the potential to conceal damage or inferiority in meat and poultry.
The change follows a petition by Kraft Foods Global Inc., which wants to use the substances to help inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes serious infections in newborns and the elderly; and Kemin Food Technologies, which wants to use sodium propionate and benzoate in their liquid form as antimicrobial agents.
Based on data gathered by Kraft and Kemin, the FSIS has determined that the use of sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid is safe when meat producers use the dosages prescribed in the amended regulation.
"Kraft submitted data collected from its in-plant-trials and from scientific studies that show that these substances do not conceal damage or inferiority, or make products appear better or of greater value than they are under the proposed conditions of use," the FSIS said.
After consideration, the FSIS said it has "determined that sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid, under the conditions proposed in the petitions, are both safe and suitable for use as antimicrobial agents in certain RTE (Ready-to-Eat) meat and poultry products."
The agency further states that, "Under this [regulation], use of these substances in or on meat or poultry products will continue to be approved by FDA for safety and by FSIS for suitability."
According to the rule, sodium propionate cannot exceed 0.5 percent by weigh of total formulation when used alone in meat or poultry. Sodium Benzoate and benzoic acid can both be used up to 0.1 percent, and all three are considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under the rule.