SEOUL -- South Korea's health regulatory agency eased tight regulations on the use of propionic acid, which is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid and has many important uses because of antibacterial properties. It will be recognized as natural when detected in small amounts.
Propionic acid is used as a preservative and flavoring agent in packaged foods because it has antibacterial properties and prevents the growth of various molds. In agriculture and livestock operations, propionic acid can be used to sanitize the surface of places. When not handled properly, however, propionic acid can be potentially dangerous.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety revised strict regulations to make more extensive use of propionic acid. In principle, propionic acid detected in small amounts is recognized as natural, but animal materials that can produce propionic acid naturally in the process of decomposition are excluded.
If propionic acid is found to be less than 0.10 grams per kilogram, which cannot be preserved as a food additive, it shall be recognized as natural, the ministry said, adding the revision would ease the difficulties of producers to prove that propionic acid originated from food ingredients or manufacturing processes, and the cost burden of product disposal if not proven.
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