What is Calcium Propionate E282? Uses, Safe, Side Effects

What is Calcium Propionate E282? Uses, Safe, Side Effects


Table of Contents

Calcium Propionate (E282) is an organic chemical compound and a food additive. Bread and meat products contain it as a preservative which functions by inhibiting the growth of mold & other bacteria and therefore prolongs food shelf life. Calcium Propionate (E282) can also be used to prevent the spoilage of alcoholic beverages, wine, and vinegar. Furthermore, it is a calcium-rich food source. The European food additive number for it is E282.

What is calcium propionate used for?


Calcium propionate is used in bread, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods as a preservative to inhibit mold growth. It’s also used as a food additive and an antifungal agent.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calcium propionate has been approved uses in the U.S. for use as a food additive, a feed additive and in animal health products. It’s also approved for use in Canada as a food additive and feed additive.

Calcium propionate is approved by the FDA for use in frozen fish filets (e.g., breaded fish sticks) at levels up to 0.06% of the finished product; cheeses at levels up to 0.1%; dehydrated potatoes (French fries) at up to 0.05%; crackers at up to 0.01%; nonalcoholic beverages at levels up to 0.002%; processed bananas at up to 0.03%; canned pears at up to 0.01% (as well as fruit cocktail), meat products (e.g., corned beef hash), soups, sauces and gravies at levels up to 0.02%; ice cream desserts (e.g., ice cream cones and sundaes) at levels up to 0.04%; peanut butter at levels up to 0.04%.

What is calcium propionate made from?


Calcium propionate is an antimicrobial agent that’s used as a preservative in food, including cheese and other dairy products. It can also be used as a mold inhibitor in bread.

Calcium propionate is made by reacting calcium hydroxide with propionic acid. Pure calcium propionate is a white crystalline powder that’s soluble in water and alcohol.

Food manufacturers often use calcium propionate to preserve food because it has low toxicity and does not contribute off-flavors or colors to foods. It also inhibits the growth of molds, yeasts and bacteria at low concentrations (0.1–0.4%).

What is calcium propionate benefits?


Calcium propionate is a common additive used in many foods to preserve them from mold and yeast growth. The chemical compound is made up of calcium, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The primary use of calcium propionate is as a preservative in breads and baked goods because it inhibits the growth of mold spores. It also has benefits for people suffering from lactose intolerance or milk allergies because it helps reduce the symptoms associated with these conditions.

There are several benefits to using calcium propionate:

It acts as a preservative to prevent mold growth on bread and baked goods; however, this can also cause allergic reactions in some people who are sensitive to milk products or have an intolerance to them.

It can help prevent the growth of bacteria in foods such as cheese which may otherwise cause food poisoning if consumed.

It helps improve quality control in food production by preventing cross-contamination between batches of food during processing.

Where to buy calcium propionate?



There are a number of places to buy calcium propionate, including Amazon and Alibaba. However, you may also be able to find it in your local home improvement store.

If you’re not sure where to get calcium propionate, here are some options:

Amazon — Amazon has a wide range of products from different brands. You can find them all in one place at great prices.

Alibaba — Alibaba is an online retailer that offers thousands of different products for sale, including calcium propionate. It’s easy to navigate the site and find what you need quickly.

Grade Chemical — The Grade Chemical website sells various types of food additives products, including calcium propionate. You can purchase in bulk from them at a competitive price.

What is calcium Propionate?


It is a new food preservative developed in recent decades that is considered safer than sodium benzoate (E211), and has a lower price than potassium sorbate (E202). Propionic acid reacts with calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide to form calcium propionate.

Is it Vegan?


Certainly, the chemical reaction makes it vegan, neither the raw materials nor products derived from animal origin are used in the manufacturing process. Therefore, it is vegan and suitable for vegetarians.

Is it dairy-free?


Yes, There is no milk source for calcium propionate so it is dairy-free. Hence,it is safe to eat with milk allergy or lactose intolerance.





It is a white crystalline powder or granular substance, Acidic with a faint propionic odor.

Other Names


Calcium propanoate, Calcium dipropionate

Number of CAS



Chemical formula



Molar Mass







  • Solubility
  • PH
  • Antimicrobial Activity


  • In water: With a solubility of 49 g/100 mL at zero degrees Celsius and 55.8 g/100 mL at 100 degrees Celsius, it is freely soluble in water.In addition to dissociating propanoic acid, it also has antimicrobial properties.
  • In organic solvent: Insoluble in acetone and benzene, slightly soluble in methanol and ethanol.

As only dissolved preservatives have antimicrobial properties against microorganisms, water solubility is a critical property. Therefore, benzoic acid (E210) and sorbic acid (E200), which have a low solubility in water and are made as salts, are rarely used in food.



A suitable pH range is also important for preservatives to perform their antimicrobial function.In other words, calcium propionate’s ability to inhibit the growth of mold and other microorganisms will be affected if its PH value is incorrect.

Since the undissociated acid acts as an antimicrobial agent, studies show that it is more effective in acid than in neutral or slightly alkaline solutions. When the pH is below 5.5, it has good activity.

In the meantime, it will raise the pH of food when added to it.

Antimicrobial activity


When 0.1-0.4% of calcium propionate is used as the active ingredient in bakery products, it’s more effective against mold than sodium benzoate, but it has no effect on yeast, which makes it the perfect choice for products that contain yeast (proper amount at 0.1-0.4%).

Additionally, it can be used as an inhibitor of mold and rope in cheese, non-alcoholic beverages, confections, fillings, frostings, fresh dough, pizza crust, puddings, gelatins, jams, jellies, and some meats.

When propionic acid (E280) enters mold cells, it inhibits enzyme function; at the same time, it inhibits microbial growth by competing with essential amino acids such as alanine. Calcium propionate prevents mold and other microorganisms by working in that way.

Propionic acid is also used in natural foods as a preservative. Compared to calcium propionate and sodium propionate, it has the best preservation activity. Mold inhibitors such as sodium propionate are also available, but calcium propionate has the advantage of reducing sodium levels in food as well as providing nutritional benefits.

What is the application of calcium propionate?


Many products, including bakery, cheese, meat, dairy, and others, contain it as a preservative. Cattle also use it to prevent milk fever.



Even though mold is killed during the baking process, it is easy to contaminate bread in a hot, humid environment. As calcium propionate does not interact with yeast, it can be used in bread and other yeast-based bakery products without interfering with their fermentation.

Besides, Calcium nutrition can be enhanced by it.

Bread is not recommended to be baked with sodium propionate, as it will delay the fermentation of yeast, but cakes are recommended to be baked with calcium propionate, which alters the effect of chemical leavening agents.

How to use calcium propionate in bread?


During the dough-mixing process, it is typically combined with the other ingredients.

How Much to be Used?


A low pH (higher acidity) product such as bread (ph 5.3-5.8), cheese (Swiss Gruyere cheese PH 5.1 – 6.6), and a cake (angel cake, PH 5.2 – 5.6) require fewer amounts. A higher pH product such as cake chocolate (ph 7.2-7.6) requires more since less dissociated propionic acid is present.

When humidity and temperature are high, a higher amount of use is required.



The use of calcium propionate for swine, ruminant animals (horses and cattle), poultry, fish, pets, and other animals is also possible. 



Once absorbed into the feed body, calcium propionate will hydrolyze into propionic acid and calcium. The fatty acid propionic acid is a volatile fatty acid. A small amount of it is converted to lactic acid, and the rest is converted into glucose and provides energy. Clearly, calcium propionate plays a significant role in energy production.

Meanwhile, calcium supplements benefit teeth, muscles, nerves, and cells as well as building and maintaining strong bones.

Treat Milk Fever


In dairy cows, milk fever is a common disorder. After calving, calcium absorption will be reduced and excretion will increase, causing the blood calcium concentration to fall below 5.0 mg/dl, resulting in milk fever and body function problems.

As a preventative and treatment for nutritional metabolic diseases such as ketosis and milk fever, calcium propionate is effective.

How to Use calcium propionate in Feed?


The good solubility of calcium propionate makes it suitable for use in animal feed directly or dissolved in water before use.



Calcium propionate is a preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products according to a database maintained by the European Commission.

Is calcium propionate safe to eat for the body?


There is no doubt that it is safe when used as a food additive. It is approved by the U.S. FDA, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), among others.



Aside from current good manufacturing practices, calcium propionate can be used as an antimicrobial agent in food. The ingredient is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct human food ingredient in baked goods, cheeses, confections and frostings, gelatins, puddings, and fillings, jams, and jellies.



As an authorized food additive, calcium propionate (E282) is listed in Regulation (EU) No 231/2012 as “additives other than colors and sweeteners.”

Safety Re-evaluation in 2014


According to EFSA, after testing for genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and other research, propionic acid and its salts do not pose a safety concern at their current uses and levels.

Authorised Uses And Use Levels


There is also potassium propionate (E283) listed along with propionic acid (E280) and sodium propionate (E281). There is a range of maximum permitted levels (MPLs) in foods ranging from 1000 mg/kg to 3000 mg/kg. Here are some foods that may contain it:

  • Ripened cheese
  • Bread in prepackaged sliced, rye, and energy-reduced forms; partially baked prepacked bread; rolls in prepackaged form, and tortillas in prepacked form
  • Prepackaged fine bakery items

UK Food Standards Agency


Categorized in “Preservatives”

Food Standards Australia New Zealand


Code number 282 for this ingredient is approved in Australia and New Zealand.



It serves as a food additive and is a preservative. Since 1973, the ADI has been “not limited”.

What are the calcium propionate’s side effects?


The possibility of health risks associated with calcium propionate is sometimes questioned by consumers. WIt is understandable that consumers prefer natural preservatives over synthetic ones in their foods. Although generally considered safe, it is linked to diabetes and autism in children and may have side effects on them.

Health Concerns on Children


Calcium propionate, which is found in healthy foods consumed every day, may cause irritability, restlessness, inattention, and sleep disturbances in some children. Its concentration can be reduced to reduce adverse reactions.

Forbs reported in 2018 that McDonald’s might get rid of calcium propionate because of this study.

Diabetes and autism may be linked


Calcium propionate may alter neurobehavior and insulin resistance when added to food, as reported in MERCOLA in 2019.

Is it Safe for Pregnant?


Yes, Generally, it is safe to use, but you should consult your doctor before doing so.

Frequently asked questions


Is it an Artificial Preservative?


Yes. As the main raw materials, propionic acid and calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide are used to synthesize it. Therefore, it is not natural.

Is it Halal?


Yes, As it meets the requirements of Halal and is permitted under Islamic Law, it is generally recognized as Halal.In addition, we can find some manufacturers with MUI Halal certification.

Is it Kosher?


Yes, Calcium propionate is kosher. As a kosher product, it complies with all kashruth requirements.Kosher means fit, proper, or correct in Hebrew.It now mostly refers to food and drink that comply with Jewish religious dietary laws.

Is it Gluten free?


Yes, People with celiac disease can eat it because it is usually gluten-free.  This ingredient is commonly found on gluten-free and gluten-containing food labels.As defined by the FDA, gluten free products do not contain wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains.

Final thought:


You now have a better understanding of Calcium propionate (E282) as a preservative:

  • Manufacturing process
  • Preservative properties, similar to sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate
  • Uses in food and feed
  • Comparison with sodium propionate
  • Safety
  • Side effects

Are you familiar with this additive? Comment below if you have any questions.

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng

Sophie Feng is the author of gradechemical.com, she is the co-founder of the grade chemical network. She has been in grade chemical company since 2017, with a working knowledge of food chemical .

Recent Post:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


One professional food chemical manufacturing company in China, we can supply different types of food additives, flavors fragrances, feed additives, food ingredients, and custom chemicals, etc

Fill out the form and our sales team will contact you with our best prices.

Scroll to Top

Ask for Quick Quote

We will contact you within 1 working day, please pay attention to the email.