The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the Federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to allow sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid for use in meat or poultry products.
New uses of these substances in meat or poultry products will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and by FSIS for suitability.
FSIS said that adding sodium propionate to the list of approved ingredients provides meat and poultry processors greater flexibility in formulating new products while protecting the food supply against listeria.
In 2006, Kraft Foods Global, petitioned FSIS to amend the Federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to permit the use of sodium benzoate and sodium propionate as acceptable antimicrobial agents that may be used in combination with other approved ingredients to inhibit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products.
On July 26, 2010, Kemin Food Technologies petitioned FSIS to amend the regulations to permit the use of liquid sodium propionate and liquid sodium benzoate as acceptable antimicrobial agents in meat and poultry products.
Both firms were issued with waivers allowing them to gather sufficient data to support the use of the products as per their request.
In the final rule published in the Federal Register last week he FSIS said that at sodium propionate can be used as an antimicrobial in various meat and poultry products in an amount not to exceed 0.5% (by weight of total formulation) when used alone.
Sodium benzoate can be used as an antimicrobial in various meat and poultry products at up to 0.1% when used alone.
Benzoic acid is a direct food ingredient that can be used in various meat and poultry products at up to 0.1% and all the substances must be labelled.
FSIS said in a May 2012 proposed rule that certain antimicrobial substances are prohibited for use in meat or poultry products because they have the potential to conceal damage or inferiority when used at certain levels.
Among the substances are potassium sorbate, propylparaben (propyl phydroxybenzoate), calcium propionate, sodium propionate, benzoic acid, and sodium benzoate.
FSIS received 20 comments in response to the proposed rule, with some supporting the change and others worried about potential risk to human health.
“FSIS and FDA have evaluated all the data and determined that the uses of these substances considered in this rule are safe for individual consumers, including children,” said the agency.