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rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.

20Jan

Calcium propionate can be found in many gluten free baked goods and it may be the cause of many of migraine headaches. So what’s it included for? Is it really needed?
Bread

E282 – Calcium propionate

Calcium propionate “Occurs naturally in swiss cheese; prepared commercially from propionic acid. The propionates occur naturally in fermented foods, in human sweat and in digestion products of ruminants.”

Function: Preservative – antimicrobial mould inhibitor, especially those which occur in bread.

Effects: Some reports link propionate with migraine headaches. The Bakers’s Union in the UK has banned it’s use in its pure form because it provokes skin rashes in bakery workers.

Do we really need mould inhibitors in our bread? Wouldn’t you rather eat it before it got old and stale? Especially if it can cause migraines in people with already sensitive immune systems and digestion.

A study in the “Journal of Paediatric Child Health” in 2002 reported that although calcium propionate may have little to no side effects on the average person, chronic exposure, especially in children, might induce a myriad of behavioral changes. A controlled group of children fed a strict diet without any food additives was compared to a group that was given traditional bread each day. The clinical trial revealed that “irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children may be caused by a preservative in healthy foods consumed daily.” These behavioral changes appear to be reversible when the preservative is removed from the child’s diet.

Which bread has calcium propionate? So far I’ve found it to be present in Genius, M&S gluten free and Newburn Bakehouse and I’m sure others. It is also used in most normal bread and baked goods to, not just the gluten free stuff.

Can you use natural mould inhibitors?

If bakers use vinegar to clean utensils and machinery and baked goods are allowed to dry completely before being bagged there should surely be no need to added mould inhibitors.

I found this reference: “Mold inhibitors can be added to breads to lengthen their shelf life. “Natural” mold inhibitors, such as acetic acid (vinegar); raisin-juice concentrate; and glucono-delta-lactone (found in honey, fruit juices and wine) act by reducing pH to retard the initial growth of mold. The food additives propionate and sorbate are effective against mold at low concentrations, but don’t affect product pH. “Fermented wheat flour and cultured whey function as natural sources of calcium propionate,” says Beavan. Propionates and sorbates can be added into dough, batter or filling formulations. Propionates are most effective against mold and bacterial growth. Sorbates inhibit yeast as well as molds, and are used more in cakes, pies, fillings and icings. Both types can be applied as a water-based surface spray to English muffins and scones.”

If there are natural sources of mould inhibitor would they work just as well? or would vinegar for instance affect the flavour? What worries me is the quote above that fermented wheat flour and cultured whey function as natural sources of calcium propionate. Is this the kind bakers are using? Might this be causing me the nodular prurigo and eczema that I get when I eat freefrom gluten free baked goods?

I can tolerate them if I eat them in moderation but can never incorporate as a staple part of my diet. I couldn’t eat gluten free baked goods every day or my skin would be awful.

But do most people consume calcium propionate without any problems? Should I be worrying about this anyway? I guess it’s maybe just me with my ‘processed food free’ attempt at life that I wonder why these strange things are added to our food.

I can tolerate #GF baked goods if I eat them in moderation but can never incorporate as a staple part of my diet. I couldn’t eat gluten free baked goods every day or my skin would be awful.

But do most people consume calcium propionate without any problems? Should I be worrying about this at all? I guess it’s maybe just me with my ‘processed food free’ attempt at life that I wonder why these strange things are added to our food.

Can you be allergic to calcium propionate?

I couldn’t find any scientific references to allergies to calcium propionate, only some suggestions that it may cause migraines and behavioural changes. So the jury is out. I know most gluten free bread manufacturers try to keep this ingredient to a minimum but what if they stopped adding it altogether?

Would a more natural alternative work just as well?

References:

  • E for Additives by Maurice Hanssen
  • Livestrong
  • www.foodproductdesign.com
  

Ruth

An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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