Calcium propionate is an organic salt formed by the reaction of calcium hydroxide with propionic acid (also known as propanoic acid). The Center for Science in the Public Interest indicates that calcium propionate is added to bread products to prevent mold growth. Another derivative is sodium propionate, which is often used in baked goods since the calcium may alter the effect of other materials used in making pies or cakes.
- Food preservatives.Studies indicate that calcium propionate is one of the safest food additives used by the food industry. It can effectively restrain the mold, yeast anaerobic-Aerobic bacterial activity, such as cheese, wine, yogurt, dried meats, apple cider, soft drinks and fruit drinks, and baked goods, where it is commonly used as a preservative in chocolate products, processed cheeses, and fruit preserves. The tobacco industry has also used calcium propionate as a preservative in some of its products.
- calcium propionate finds some application in many personal care products to inhibit the development of microorganisms for shelf stability.
- It is primarily used with sweet wines, sparkling wines, and some hard ciders.
Calcium propionate has been studied extensively for potential toxicity and for any possibility that it might cause cancer. All the laboratory findings were negative, except for one study involving young, vitamin B-12 deficient rats. The study findings suggested that massive amounts of calcium propionate could result in a decrease in growth rates during the study. But, the amount used was many times more than you could ever get from a standard diet - plus, it's not known how much the vitamin B-12 deficiency had to do with those results.
In other laboratory studies, rats fed large amounts of calcium propionate (and similar compounds) over longer periods of time did not appear to have any negative outcomes. So the accumulation of research evidence indicates that calcium propionate is non-toxic and safe to use in the typical amounts currently used by food manufacturers.