South Africa’s bread gets a ne

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

South Africa’s bread gets a new lease of life

In future our bread will likely last 2-3 days longer due to the use of a new, safe, natural preservative, says industry.

South Africa’s bread gets a ne

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

You know the feeling. You’re a little peckish at lunchtime and you reach for a couple of slices of bread to make a sandwich to see you through the afternoon.

Only to find that the loaf has turned into a mini science experiment with some very unappetising spots of green mould. For you, a sandwich is definitely off the menu.

Sorbic acid finally approved for use in our bread

Fortunately help is at hand and that loaf may just last you a little longer in future. After a lengthy delay that nobody can quite fathom, the South African authorities have finally allowed the inclusion of a substance called sorbic acid in our bread.

It’s a preservative that has long been used in white wines, cheese and meat and, more than a decade ago, was approved by both the EU and UN’s food standards authorities for use in bread.

It is also already used in baked products in South Africa.

Shelf life should improve 2-3 days, depending on storage

Speaking to Joanne Joseph on Talk Radio 702 this week, Geoff Penny, Executive Director of the South African Chamber of Baking, said the use of sorbic acid would improve the shelf-life of a loaf of bread by 2-3 days, or possibly even longer, depending on where the bread is stored.

Penny said sorbic acid is a naturally occurring preserving compound which originates from berries that grow on the rowan tree. The tree is native to parts of Europe and Asia, but can also be found in South Africa.

Up until now, South African bread has been produced using calcium propionate, which was the only substance approved by the Department of Health.

Bread industry has long been lobbying for the change

Penny said the industry had long been lobbying for the approval of sorbic acid due to the benefits and no known side effects. This included no known instances of triggering allergies or other reactions in humans.

He said it would “probably add a couple of cents to the price of a loaf”. But it was possible that the industry would absorb this cost.