E281 is a food additive approved by the European Union (EU). It is a natural acid that acts as an antimicrobial preservative in food products, especially in bakery.
The common name for E281 is sodium propionate. It may also be referred to as sodium salt or propionic acid.
E281 is the sodium salt of propionic acid and is found in human sweat, the stomachs of cows and in fermented products. In the body, propionate acts as a small chain fatty acid. In bakery products, this chemical prevents growth of bacteria that cause sticky yellow patches.
Examples of food/drink products that may include E281:
- processed cheese