Analysis of Chemical Preservatives in Foods
Since prehistoric ages, man has used several methods to improve the shelf-life of food or food products. Drying procedures are among the oldest methods, and so are cooling and freezing in areas with a moderate or cool climate. The addition of salt too was a shelf-life improvement method used in ancient times. Smoke-curing, although intended as a drying process, can also be considered as an addition of components that have a preservative function (i.e., reactive aldehydes and phenolic substances) to food. In later times, the use of saltpeter to preserve meat products and the generation of sulfur dioxide by burning sulfur in wine casks to preserve wine were practiced. Thus, preservation by means of what we now call “additives” or, more speci‘cally, “preservatives” has a very long history.