What Is Sodium Erythorbate?

Are you curious to know what is sodium erythorbate? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about sodium erythorbate in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is sodium erythorbate?

Sodium erythorbate is a food additive commonly used in various food processing and preservation applications. This compound, derived from erythorbic acid, serves multiple functions in the food industry, contributing to food safety, quality maintenance, and flavor preservation.

What Is Sodium Erythorbate?

Sodium erythorbate, a sodium salt of erythorbic acid, is a synthetic form of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). It appears as a white crystalline powder and is water-soluble. It’s known for its antioxidant properties and is often used as a preservative and antioxidant in the food industry.

Functions In Food Processing

  • Antioxidant Properties: Sodium erythorbate functions primarily as an antioxidant, inhibiting the oxidation process in food. It helps maintain the color, flavor, and overall quality of various food products, preventing discoloration and rancidity caused by exposure to oxygen.
  • Preservative: As a preservative, sodium erythorbate extends the shelf life of food products by slowing down the deterioration caused by oxidation and maintaining their freshness for a longer duration.

Applications In Food Products

Sodium erythorbate finds its way into a wide array of food products, including:

  • Processed meats (such as sausages, bacon, and deli meats)
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Baked goods and pastry products
  • Soft drinks and fruit juices
  • Pickled products

Safety And Regulation

Sodium erythorbate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory bodies when used within specified limits. It’s considered a safe food additive and is widely used across the food industry.

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Advantages And Considerations

  • Quality Maintenance: Its antioxidant properties help retain the color, flavor, and texture of food products, contributing to better overall quality.
  • Alternative to Nitrites: In processed meats, sodium erythorbate can serve as an alternative or complement to nitrites, reducing the formation of potentially harmful nitrosamines.


Sodium erythorbate plays a crucial role in the food industry as an antioxidant and preservative, contributing to the quality and shelf stability of various food products. Its application in preserving food quality and extending shelf life showcases its significance in food processing and preservation, ensuring that consumers receive products that maintain their quality and freshness. As a widely accepted and safe food additive, sodium erythorbate continues to be an integral part of modern food preservation practices.


Is Sodium Erythorbate Safe In Food?

Considering that the ADI is not exceeded by any population group, the Panel also concluded that the use of erythorbic acid (E 315) and sodium erythorbate (E 316) as food additives at the permitted or reported use and use levels would not be of safety concern.

Is Erythorbate An Earthworm?

(Note: Erythorbate is NOT earthworms, perhaps the spelling or pronunciation has contributed to this misconception because the USDA’s Meat & Poultry Hotline has received calls related to this concern.)

What Does Sodium Erythorbate Do To Meat?

Sodium Erythorbate is an antioxidant preservative that is the sodium salt of Erythorbic acid (produced by fermentation of food grade starch). In meat curing, it controls and accelerates the nitrite curing reaction and maintains the color brightness. It is used in frankfurters, bologna and other cured meats.

Do Hotdogs Have Earthworms In Them?

In contrast to a popular urban legend, erythorbate is NOT made from earthworms, though the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports receiving many inquiries about erythorbate’s source. It is speculated that the similarity in the spelling of the words “erythorbate” and “earthworms” has led to this confusion.

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