I would like to know the ratio for using sodium benzoate as a preservative in our jams and relishes. We state on our product that it's home made and no added preservatives are added, would this be wrong when sodium benzoate is added?

  • 7
    You write yourself that you add sodium benzoate as preservative, that makes the claim "no added preservative" false. Also note that sodium benzoate can be an allergen according to the German Wikipedia, so adding it without declaration could put your customers at risk.
    – Stephie
    Jul 8, 2015 at 15:12
  • 1
    US wikipedia mentions : "Concentration as a preservative is limited by the FDA in the U.S. to 0.1% by weight". Of course, I have no idea if that's necessarily a good concentration to use (as it might have other effects such as in texture or flavor).
    – Joe
    Jul 8, 2015 at 15:49
  • 1
    As far as I know, 500mg per 1kg of body mass of consumer per day does not have immediate health effect on one who is not allergic. That said, some people are allergic to it, so no matter what amount you add, you should state it clearly, in a way impossible to overlook, that your product has it added as preservative. Not posting this as an answer because I can't find reliable sourced on toxicity levels, don't trust me on that.
    – Mołot
    Jul 10, 2015 at 17:30
  • While benzoate also occurs naturally in some fruit (and in surprisingly high amounts), it is the VERY DEFINITION of what people consider an added preservative. May 24, 2018 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


Well yeah, adding a preservative is ... just that. I'd just stick with the "homemade" part; there is so much misinformation about preservatives that get so quickly spread without research. You can use it to rinse/sterilize containers without mixing it in but not as effective. Recipes I've used are ¼ teaspoon per litre (mix with 1 tsp hot water to dissolve). Also can be used to sterilize jars by making a hot water rinse (use similar ratio). Read Wikipedia on Sodium benzoate if anyone is worried about it as all the hype has been debunked and it's safer than the "natural" potassium sorbate used.


This site https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/food-additive-status-list indicates the amount of substances permitted (by the Americans at least) for various additives. It supports the assertion that <0.1% is a reasonable concentration. Additive 211 (Sodium benzoate) is most used in acid foods as it imparts a bit more acidity as part of its anti-fungal mechanism. It is also allegedly a flavour enhancer, though in the concentration cited I cannot see how.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.