Benzoate of Soda
Also known as "benzoate of soda," sodium benzoate is the sodium salt of "benzoic acid," an FDA-approved, polyunsaturated fat that has been used by food manufacturers for over 80 years to inhibit microbial growth. Sodium benzoate can prevent growth of almost all microorganisms (yeast, bacteria, and fungi). It operates best in an acidic environment, and it works synergically with other food-grade preservatives -- most notably potassium sorbate. Sodium benzoate is freely found in nature, and in fact, even organically grown cranberries or prunes can contain levels of benzoic acid that exceed the legal limit imposed by the FDA on U.S. food manufacturers (0.1% by weight), although the level normally found in berries will be in the range of 0.05 to 0.1%.