The sodium salt of benzoic acid (E210).
Used as a preservative, both antibacterial and antifungal but effective in only slightly acid environments. Also used as an antiseptic, as a food preservative and to disguise the taste of poor quality food.
Found in barbecue sauce, caviar, cheesecake mix, fruit pies, margarine, pickled cucumbers, pineapple juice, prawns, preserves, salad dressing, soya sauce, sweets and table olives. Also in milk and meat products, relishes and condiments, baked goods lollipops and soft drinks (orange soft drinks may contain high quantities, up to 25mg per 250ml). Can be found in many oral medications.
People who suffer from asthma, aspirin sensitivity or the skin disease urticaria may have allergic reactions and/or find their symptoms become worse following consumption of benzoic acid, particularly in combination with tartrazine (E102).
Not recommended for consumption by children.