A preservative added to food to extend shelf life by preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold. It is is a white, odorless powder obtained by combining benzoic acid and potassium salt under heat. Commonly found in sodas, sweets, condiments, and processed meats or fish.
When combined with vitamin C, light, or heat, it can form benzene, a strong carcinogen. Foods that contain benzene may also cause cause hives or other severe allergic reactions, especially in people prone to eczema, itchy skin, or a chronically stuffy or runny nose.
Questions and Answers on the Occurrence of Benzene in Soft Drinks and Other Beverageshttps://www.fda.gov/food/chemicals/questions-and-answers-occurrence-benzene-soft-drinks-and-other-beverages
Benzoic acid and its derivatives as naturally occurring compounds in foods and as additives: Uses, exposure, and controversyhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26587821/
Benzene as a Chemical Hazard in Processed Foodshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745501/
Sensitivity to food additives, vaso-active amines and salicylates: a review of the evidencehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604636/
European Food Safety Authorityhttps://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4433