What is Potassium Sorbate E202? Uses, Safety, Benefit, and Side Effects

What is Potassium Sorbate E202? Uses, Safety, Benefit, and Side Effects

What is potassium sorbate

Table of Contents

Potassium sorbate (also known as E202) is a naturally derived food preservative… …Potassium sorbate has been safely used above .2% for decades. It is characterized by its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Potassium sorbate works by inhibiting the development of mold, yeasts, and other fungi. It is therefore used extensively in wine production.

What is potassium sorbate in food?

Potassium sorbate is an enzyme-inhibiting preservative that works by disrupting the cell walls of microorganisms. It is added to foods to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. It is used in wine, beer, fruit juices, and other beverages where it prevents the growth of undesirable yeasts. ( 1)

Potassium sorbate is also known as E202 because it has been approved by the European Union (EU) as a food additive since 1990. The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved potassium sorbate for use in foods since 1965, but only as a preservative in wines, hops and fruit juice concentrates. The FDA has not approved potassium sorbate for use in foods other than those mentioned above

Potassium sorbate has no effect on people with normal immune systems, but it can be toxic if consumed by people with severely compromised immune systems or allergies to this chemical. People who have had organ transplants may be especially sensitive to potassium sorbate because their bodies do not produce antibodies against foreign substances

What is potassium sorbate used for?

What is Tricalcium Phosphate

Potassium sorbate is used to inhibit the growth of yeast, mold and some bacteria. Potassium sorbate is a food additive approved for use in the United States. It can be found in meat products, dairy products, baked goods, frozen foods and processed vegetables.

Potassium sorbate may be used in combination with other preservatives such as benzoates (e.g., sodium benzoate), sulfites (e.g., sulfites), or nitrites (e.g., nitrites).

Potassium sorbate is also used in winemaking. It has been shown to be effective against strains of Acetobacter acetic, Bacterium acetoacetigenes, and Lactobacillus hilgardii in winemaking musts(the liquid that comes from grapes after crushing).

Potassium sorbate is also used in cosmetics and personal care products to prevent the growth of microorganisms. It is also used in pharmaceuticals as a preservative.

How to use potassium sorbate?

You can use potassium sorbate in the following ways:

To inhibit yeast growth. Potassium sorbate is used in many foods as a preservative. It inhibits mold and yeast growth, making it useful for keeping foods such as jams, jellies, syrups, and other products from spoiling.

As an antioxidant preservative. Potassium sorbate can also be used to prevent the oxidation of fats in food products. This is particularly important for seafood such as tuna steaks or salmon fillets that have been marinated with oil or lemon juice and then cooked in the same oil or juices. If you add potassium sorbate to these marinades before cooking them, you can prevent oxidation of the fat in the fish so that it remains bright red after cooking.

In cheese making. Potassium sorbate is added to cheesemaking mixtures during fermentation to prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the cheese curd during aging (see How Cheese Is Made).

How does potassium sorbate work?

Potassium sorbate inhibits the growth of mold and yeast by stopping the enzyme oxidase from functioning properly. This enzyme is needed for respiration, which is necessary for life. Without it, no fermentation can occur, so mold or yeast will not grow in a product containing potassium sorbate.

How is potassium sorbate made?

By neutralizing sorbic acid with potassium hydroxide, it can be manufactured commercially by neutralizing other food preservatives such as E200 (a naturally occurring food preservative that can be found in berries).

The manufacturing process can be summarized in four steps:

  1. By condensation of ketene and crotonaldehyde, the 3-hydroxy-4-hexenoic acid polymeric ester is obtained. A reaction equation is as follows: H2C=C=O + CH3–CH=CH–CHO = CH3CH=CH−CH=CH−COOH
  2. Decomposition: Sorbic acid is produced as a result of the decomposition of the polyester.
  3. Purification: It can be accomplished by activating carbon, distilling, recrystallizing, or any combination thereof.
  4. Potassium hydroxide neutralization.

Potassium sorbate specification

Other names
  • 2, 4 – Hexadienoic Acid
  • K-sorbate
  • Sorbic Acid, Potassium Salt
Chemical formula C6H7KO2
CAS No. 24634-61-5
Molar mass 150.22 g·mol−1
Melting point 270 °C

Potassium sorbate properties


With a neutral taste and odor, this powder is crystal white, granular, or spherical. If exposed to humid air, it absorbs water easily and expires. ( 2)

Potassium sorbate structure



Water and ethanol are freely soluble. It is usually made into its water-soluble potassium salt – potassium sorbate (solubility 67.6g/100ml at 20 °C) as a preservative in food due to its low water solubility (0.16g/100ml at 20 °C).


The antimicrobial activity of this substance is best under acidic conditions with a pH value of less than 5-6 and in a wide range of pH from 3.0 to 6.5. As the pH decreases, the activity increases.

In contrast, sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate almost lost their antimicrobial activity in the presence of a higher pH range, whereas potassium benzoate will still be effective at PH 6.5, while sodium benzoate cannot be used in the presence of higher pH ranges. It is important to note, however, that potassium sorbate will also be ineffective at pH levels above 7.0.

What’s the application of potassium sorbate?

A variety of microorganisms are protected by using sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate together in acidic foods. Microorganisms such as mold, yeast, and other microbes cannot grow in potassium sorbate, which prolongs food preservation.

Depending on PH, microbial types, and other factors, preservation dosages range from 250 ppm to 1000 ppm.

Use it directly, spray it, add it to packing materials, etc.

Soft Drink

Diet soft drinks often contain potassium sorbate as a preservative.

Coca Cola

In addition to sodium and potassium benzoate, potassium sorbate is also commonly used as a preservative in some non-carbonated and juice-containing drinks used by Coca-Cola to protect the flavor of the beverage. It can be found in ingredients lists for Sprite Limeade and Fanta Orange as well.


There are a few Pepsico drinks that contain potassium sorbate as a way of preserving freshness and flavor. Mtn Dew Kickstart – Black Cherry and Orange Citrus are two fountain drinks containing this ingredient.


Winemakers believe that adding potassium sorbate can stop wine fermentation. It is a common ingredient in winemaking. Does it really happen that way?

In order to prevent the wine from fermenting too quickly, potassium sorbate is used as a stabilizer that is added only once fermentation has been completed. Inhibiting the reproduction of yeast is not its purpose but rather to prevent wine from fermenting again by preventing the yeast from reproducing again.

The result of this is that existing yeast cells will die, and new yeast cells will not be able to be generated. A fermentation process involves the growth of a lot of yeast cells over the course of several generations; if potassium sorbate is added to the solution, the current generation of yeast will be the last generation.

Sweet wines are always bottled with potassium metabisulfite, which stabilizes the wine.

Other food may with it:

  • The cheese
  • The wine industry
  • The mead
  • The hard cider
  • Fruits and dried meats
  • The yogurt
  • Foods for pets
  • Drinks such as soft drinks
  • A variety of baked goods


Cosmetics and personal care products contain potassium sorbate as a preservative. Yeasts and mold are inhibited by this mild preservative, which can also replace parabens.

These are some of the most common cosmetics:

  • The sunscreen
  • Moisturizers
  • The creams
  • The shampoos
  • Products for skin and hair care


Pig, poultry, cat, and dog food can also be safely preserved with it.

Is potassium sorbate safe to use?

Yes, it’s safe to use potassium sorbate in food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it as a food additive and listed it as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). It can be used in all kinds of foods, including baked goods, dairy products, fruit juices, jams and jellies, and canned fish.


In the human body, potassium sorbate is metabolized into water and CO2 after participating in fat metabolism.


Chemical preservatives that are used in accordance with good manufacturing practices are generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

How much to use

The following concentrations have been approved:

  • The percentage of cheeses is 0.3%
  • A percentage of Fruit Butter & Art Sw Jelly & Preserves is 0.1%
  • The total amount of margarine and oleomargarine combined with other preservatives should not exceed 0.1% or 0.2%


According to Commission Regulation (EU) No 231/2012, potassium sorbate (E202) belongs to the category of “Additives other”.

Approved uses

A range of 20 to 6,000 mg/kg of potassium sorbate may be present in the following foods:

  • A ripened cheese, a whey cheese, or a processed cheese
  • Whiteners for spreads and beverages
  • Marmalades, jams, and jellies
  • Slices of pre-fried potato and potato dough
  • Gum chewing
  • The toppings
  • Cereals that have been precooked or processed
  • Bakery goods, including bread and pastries
  • The meat products industry
  • Condiments and seasonings
  • Cider, perry, and fruit juices
  • Aromatised wines

Safety re-evaluation in 2015

EFSA revised the 1996 ADI of 25 mg/kg BW/day to 3 mg/kg BW/day, due to the reproductive and developmental toxicity of sorbic acid.

Safety re-evaluation in 2019

A new group ADI of 11 mg /kg BW per day has been established by EFSA as a replacement for the temporary group ADI of 3 mg /kg BW.

UK Food Standards Agency

Listed under “Others”category

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, it is approved as an ingredient with code number 202.


Function Class: food additives, preservatives.

In 1973, ADI was 25 mg/kg body weight.

Potassium Sorbate vs Sodium Benzoate

Sodium benzoate is a widely used preservative in food and beverages. It has been used for years because it’s cheap, effective, and safe. However, there are new concerns about sodium benzoate as a preservative for food products.

Potassium sorbate is another widely used preservative with similar properties to sodium benzoate. This article will compare potassium sorbate with sodium benzoate and look at their strengths and weaknesses as preservatives.

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are both antimicrobial agents used in food products to prevent spoilage by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and bacteria. The most common application of these two substances is as an additive to acidic foods such as fruit juices or salad dressings where they prevent the growth of harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes or E. coli O157:H7 (1).

What are the side effects of potassium sorbate?

What is Succinic Acid

It has been determined that potassium sorbate may cause some health problems, even though the FDA and EFSA have approved it as safe.

Side effects of potassium sorbate may include:

Allergic reactions. Potassium sorbate can cause allergic reactions in some people. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, and shortness of breath.

Gastrointestinal symptoms. In some people, gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, flatulence (gas), and diarrhea have been reported after taking potassium sorbate.

Other side effects have included redness or irritation at the injection site and headache.


The presence of potassium sorbate in cosmetics and personal products can cause allergy symptoms like skin and eye irritation.


Potassium sorbate has not been proven to be genotoxic, but a study in 2012 found that sodium sorbate at the highest concentration may be genotoxic.

Does Potassium Sorbate cause Cancer?

There is no evidence that it is carcinogenic. However, due to its mutagenic and genotoxic effects, sodium sorbate may also cause cancer.

Too much Potassium sorbate

It has been reported that a high intake of potassium sorbate (more than 25 mg/kg) may cause DNA breakage and other adverse effects, according to a book published in 2018 entitled Trends in Food Science & Technology.

Is it safe for Pregnancy?

Pregnancy-related use of this condition is generally considered safe, but it is best to consult your doctor first.

Why is potassium sorbate banned in Europe?

In Europe, potassium sorbate has been banned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The Efficacy Committee of EFSA concluded that potassium sorbate is not safe for human consumption. The conclusion was based on a study done by the University of Leipzig in Germany.

The study found that potassium sorbate can cause allergies and skin reactions. The researchers also discovered that it can cause infertility in males, as well as neurological disorders.

The EFSA concluded that potassium sorbate may also cause cancer in animals and humans alike. In fact, when tested on mice, rats and rabbits, potassium sorbate was found to cause tumors in all three species.

Potassium sorbate is commonly added to food products such as baked goods and fruit juices to prevent mold growth and extend shelf life. However, the European Food Safety Authority believes that its use should be limited to only those cases where there is high risk of contamination from molds or yeast growth.

Is potassium sorbate safe for the skin?

Potassium sorbate is generally considered safe for use on skin, particularly when applied topically in small amounts. In fact, potassium sorbate is often used in cosmetics as an antimicrobial agent. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe for use in foods at levels up to 0.02 percent by weight and at levels up to 0.20 percent by weight in cosmetics and personal care products.

There are some concerns about using potassium sorbate on sensitive skin or if you’re allergic to sulfur compounds. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to sulfur compounds such as sulfites or sulfates found in some foods, you may need to avoid products that contain potassium sorbate or other types of preservatives.

What is the benefit of potassium sorbate?

Potassium sorbate is a food additive used as a preservative. It is a sorbic acid salt of potassium, which can be prepared by neutralizing sorbic acid with potassium hydroxide. It is generally used in combination with other preservatives to prevent growth of yeast, fungi, and some bacteria in foods.

The benefits of potassium sorbate are:

– It is used to preserve food products, such as cream cheese and other dairy products, bottled beverages and frozen foods.

– It prevents the growth of yeast and other microorganisms.

– It is used in the manufacturing of polyvinyl alcohol.

– It is used as a preservative in cosmetics and personal care products to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Where to buy potassium sorbate?

There are many places where you can buy potassium sorbate. You can get it from the store, online, and even from your local pharmacy. Below are some of the best places where you can buy potassium sorbate:

Store: One of the most common places where people buy potassium sorbate is in a store. However, this is only possible if you have a store near you that stocks this product. If there is no store near you, then you may have to order it online or travel to another location where they sell potassium sorbate.

Online: Another great place to purchase this product is online through an e-commerce website like Amazon or eBay. These websites are known for having everything under one roof and they also offer free shipping on all their products which makes them very convenient for customers who do not want to spend too much money or time traveling from one location to another looking for other products that they need for their business or home use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Potassium Sorbate Natural?

Potassium Sorbate is a naturally occurring substance that is used as a food preservative. It is often used in the wine industry but can be used in other industries as well.

Is Potassium Sorbate Halal?

potassium sorbate is not considered halal or not halal by itself; it’s the alcohol used in its production that makes it non-halal. In addition, some sources say that if potassium sorbate is produced from halal ingredients, then it can be halal as well.

Is Potassium sorbate Kosher?

Potassium sorbate is a kosher ingredient, and it has been since at least the year 1820. It is often used in conjunction with other additives and preservatives in order to ensure that the end product is safe for consumption.

Is Potassium sorbate Gluten free?

Potassium sorbate is gluten-free, but it’s not widely used in gluten-free products and it would be tough to find a product that uses the ingredient.

Is Potassium sorbate Vegan?

Potassium sorbate is not vegan because it’s made from animal matter. To produce potassium sorbate, manufacturers use potassium carbonate derived from bones or ash from animal skins or hooves.

Is Potassium Sorbate a preservative?

Potassium sorbate is a preservative, but it does not have the same function as other common preservatives. It is used in combination with other preservatives to prevent yeast and mold from growing in food products. It also helps prevent spoilage and discoloration of foods.


In conclusion, It does not seem like the Sodium Benzoate is really completely affecting me despite the fact that I take most of my medications with organic orange juice. Regarding potassium sorbate, it is a common food preservative used mostly in drinks and other types of foods which don’t have a long shelf life and that usually contain natural fruit juices as well.

The doses are quite low, but considering the fact that our body is composed mostly of water, even such small amounts could cause some serious intracellular biochemical changes. However, this has yet to be supported by any serious evidence.

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 .

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