Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Preservatives are chemical substances that are added to food to help:
Some preservatives come from natural sources like salt, sugar, vinegar and citrus juice. Other preservatives are human-made or synthetic.
Although Health Canada approves all of the preservatives that are used in Canada, many Canadians want to find ways to eat fewer preservatives and have begun buying more organic and unprocessed foods.
Processed, packaged foods like some crackers, cereals, breads, snacks, ready-to-eat meals, cheese, yogurt, deli meats, sauces and soups may contain preservatives.
There are many different types of preservatives. Here are some examples:
Antioxidants can also be used as preservatives by slowing down how quickly a product might spoil. Here are some examples:
A complete list of preservatives can be found in Health Canada’s Food Additive Dictionary. This resource gives you an alphabetical listing of all food additives that are thought to be safe for use in Canada.
No, not in small quantities. Health Canada makes sure that all food additives, including preservatives, do not put the health of Canadians at risk. The safety of food additives is monitored regularly to make sure the amount and type of additive follows the guidelines in the Canadian Food and Drug Act. This document makes sure that the products we consume in Canada are safe.
Some research says that certain preservatives like benzoic acid may increase hyperactivity in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). If your child has ADHD, keep a food diary. You can track what your child eats as well as his or her behaviour to see if preservatives may be causing symptoms. Preservatives like benzoic acid should be avoided if they cause hyperactivity in a child with ADHD. However, not all children with ADHD react to preservatives.
If you suspect your child may have a food sensitivity, it is important to speak with your doctor.
Choosing to avoid or limit foods with preservatives is a personal choice. If you are looking to limit the amount of preservatives in the foods you eat, follow these tips:
What you need to know about additives
Organic Foods and Growing Methods FAQ
Hormones and antibiotics in food production
For questions on food labels, call 1-877-510-510-2 to speak to an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian or send an email.
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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.