Dangers and side effects of potassium sorbate
Potassium sorbate is derived as a potassium salt of sorbic acid. In addition to food, it is used in various applications which involves wine making and personal care products. Though it is said that food additives and preservatives can have dangerous side effects, potassium sorbate, perhaps, falls into the category of food preservatives which are not seriously harmful for health.

Why Potassium Sorbate May not be Good for You?

Fundamentally, potassium sorbate is non-toxic and is regarded safe. However, its synthetic characteristic is not considered too favorable by some experts. The amount of potassium sorbate or KS present in any edible product should not exceed the amount fixed by U.S. FDA. For example, in a regular-sized cheese, the amount of potassium sorbate should not exceed 0.3% of the weight of the cheese. This limits the intake of KS which further minimizes the chances of any side effects.

Toxicity of potassium sorbate is akin to that of table salt. Prolonged use of the preservative could lead to:
  • Allergic reactions
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Nutrient loss in food
In case of personal care products, sorbate or sorbic acids, can cause:
  • Eye irritation
  • Burning and itchy rashes
  • Skin allergy
Although preservatives are believed to be unhealthy and harmful, potassium sorbate is one of the safest preservative and provides long term safety. The above given side effects show that it has minimal harmful effects. But, if you want to avoid the usage of potassium sorbate, especially in wines, and want to supplement it with something, there are always options. Let's see how its usage can be avoided or kept minimum.

How to Avoid the Side Effects

To avoid the side effects, sterile filtering can be done. But, a homemade wine is seldom possible without the use of potassium sorbate. So, in that case, you can, first of all, use yeast which has low tolerance to alcohol. Then, racking the wine carefully and using a fine filter for filtering the wine is what can be done. Another thing to remember is to ensure that there is no yeast activity in the added sweet reserve, and store the wine in a cool and dry area. However, if even after all this you observe a spritz, have a small get together of wine lovers and finish it off! That could be a fabulous way to prevent the dangers! Apart from wine, let's say if you have to purchase juice, buy fresh, organic juice as far as possible. Limiting canned food from your diet is also a good way to avoid any side effects and overall high potassium levels in blood.

Additional Info

Potassium sorbate is used to curb the production of yeast and mold in numerous foodstuff. Cheese, yogurt, dried meats, apple cider are some of them. Another range of products which normally have potassium sorbate are herbal dietary supplements. Addition of potassium sorbate to foodstuff increases its shelf life. It can be fully digested, and is a polyunsaturated fat which is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. As a preservative, it can also replace sulfur dioxide, which leaves a typical taste in the mouth after eating the product in which it is used.

Potassium sorbate is also used for off-dry (wines) to prevent yeast from re-fermenting post its bottling process. It inhibits the fermentation process, and thus, curbs the production of yeast. However, even after considering everything, there are a few side effects. Eating healthy and natural food as far as possible and primarily, having minimum foodstuff which need a long shelf life, is ultimately the best option. Thus, take care, eat right, and stay healthy!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.