Whilst occuring naturally in many edible berries, fruits and
vegetables it is available commercially by chemical synthesis
from Benzoin, a resin exuded by trees native to Asia
It is used as an antibacterial and antifungal preservative
in acid mediums. It is excreted from the body as hippuric acid
between 9 and 15 hours of consumption.
Can be found in beer, coffee essence, dessert sauces, soft
drinks, flavouring syrups, fruit juice, pulp and purée,
jam, margarine, marinated herring and mackerel, pickles, salad
cream and dressings, fruit yoghurt, baked goods, cheeses, gum,
condiments, frozen dairy, relishes, soft sweets, cordials and
sugar substitutes. Also used in cosmetics, as an antiseptic
in many cough medications and an antifungal in ointments.
Best avoided by people with allergy reactions as it can cause
a rash similar to nettle rash with large quantities also causing
gastric irritation. When combined with Tartrazine (E102)
it provokes a very high hyperactive response in children. Can
cause asthma, especially in those dependent on steroid asthma
medications, is also reputed to cause neurological disorders
and to react with sulphur bisulphite (E222)
Not recommended for consumption by children.
The Hyperactive Childrens Support Group belive that a link
exists between this additive and hyperactive behavioural disorders