Compromising safety for nutrition? The case for the natural conventional preservatives

Prior to the introduction of modern technology such as refrigeration, consumers and food producers relied on traditional measures to keep food fresh and wholesome such as salt, sugar and nitrates. However, there has recently been a trend to replace or remove these natural preservatives from product formulations. This article discusses the potential conflict between replacement of salt, sugar and nitrates/nitrites for nutritional purposes and the risk of making the food more vulnerable to spoilage and growth of pathogens. In addition, this article explores how the replacement of traditional preservatives can impact the “naturalness” of a food product. From a legal perspective, this can have a significant bearing in assessing compliance of a food with its marketing claim to the effect that the food is more "natural".