Natamycin

As previously mentioned, Kraft Foods has recently announced that they will be removing artificial preservatives (specifically sorbic acid) from most of their “Singles” cheese slices.

So, what will they used instead? Natamycin.

What is Natamycin?

Natamycin is sometimes called pimaricin. It’s a naturally occurring anti-fungal agent. It is widely used as a food preservative.

Description

It is produced during fermentation by bacteria, Streptomyces natalensis. This type of bacteria is commonly found in soil.

Common Uses

Natamycin is used to prevent to fungus in foods. It is active against yeasts and moulds, but not bacteria. This makes it convenient for use in foods that ripen after processing.

It has advantages over traditional chemical preservatives. It doesn’t affect flavour. It has less impact/dependence on the acidity of food.

It is commonly used in diary products like cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. It is also used in packaged salad mixes.

It is sometimes applied to the surface of dried meats. This prevents mold growth on the casing. This use has not been approved in the United States.

Medical Uses

Natamycin is also used in medicine. It is used to treat and prevent fungal infects in eyes. People who where contact lenses may suffer from these kinds of infections.

It is used in veterinary medicine. It is rubbed on the surface of infections. Ringworm infections in cattle and horses are common applications.

Health Issues / Side Effects

Natamycin does not have any toxic affects.

Some microorganisms occur naturally in our guts. Natamycin does not appear to harm these microorganisms. However, more research may be required.1

There is no evidence that resistant strains of fungus will develop because of the use of Natamycin.2

E Number

The E number of Natamycin is 235. Related additives include:

Sources

  1. Chemical Safety Information from Intergovernmental Organizations – SAFETY EVALUATION OF CERTAIN
    FOOD ADDITIVES AND CONTAMINANTS
  2. European Food Safety Authority – Scientific Opinion on the use of natamycin (E 235) as a food additive

Links

If you want to read more, try the following links..