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Is Benzoic Acid bad for you?

Benzoic acid is a compound that occurs naturally in food but has a synthetic variant which is used as a food preservative. It helps to eliminate mold, yeast, and bacterial growth. Benzoic acid is a useful chemical, and when they are used in small quantities, they are considered safe. 

Initially, Benzoic acid was extracted from resins of trees, and they were known as gum benzoin.  Over the years, Benzoic acid became synthetically extracted in a laboratory.

Benzoic acids also aid in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infection because It is used as an antifungal agent for treating diseases like ringworm. Proper handling of benzoic acid is very necessary to avoid injuries and health risks. Benzoic acid is a crystalline powder with a non-offensive odor.

Benzoic Acid occurs naturally in the following foods

  • Anise
  • Berries
  • Dairies such as milk and cheeses
  • Cherry Bark 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves 
  • Fermented milk products
  • Huckleberry
  • Nutmeg 
  • Salvia 
  • Star anise
  • Thyme 
  • Wood mushrooms (but not button mushrooms)
  • Yogurt – bacterial fermentation can create benzoic acid 

Natural exposure to benzoic acid isn’t cause for concern. You need to be wary of synthetic variant manually added to foods


When exposed to important organs like the eye, benzoic acid can cause severe irritation to the skin and further lead to serious eye damages. Also, it is a mildly harmful substance and can damage certain organs through prolonged or repeated exposure. 

Shortly after being exposed to benzoic acid, the individual can experience severe eye damage and irritation of the skin. If Benzoic Acid is inhaled, it can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, etc. When large amounts of inhaled can cause the nervous system to break-down. 

Benzoic Acids have been linked to a lot of asthma problems worldwide. Most of our health problems can be traced back to preservatives, such as Benzoic Acid, sugar and other unnatural food additives.


Benzoic acid ends up in the production of foods like yogurt, and it occurs naturally in some fruits. It is highly effective as a preservative in many acidic foods such as barbecue sauces, salad dressings, carbonated drinks, etc. 


Generally, benzoic acids can be found in so many plants especially fruits. Most times it is extracted and added to food as a preservative because it harms the microbes present in the food by preventing them from fermenting glucose.

Artificial benzoic acid, i.e. the ones that are created in laboratories can be used in industries and sometimes added to the following foods:

  • Beer
  • Blue cheese
  • Bottled Asian sauces
  • Bottled lemon & lime juice
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Fruit juice
  • Hot chocolate
  • Pickles
  • Preserves
  • Sausages
  • Soda
  • Some shellfish
  • Vinegar


Benzoic acid can have a number of these names on labels:

  • Acido benzoic
  • Benzenecarboxylic acid
  • Benzeneformic acid
  • Benzenemethanoic acid
  • Benzoate
  • Benzoate derivatives (any chemical with the word “benzoate” in it)
  • Benzoesaeure
  • Benzoic acid
  • Flowers of Benjamin
  • Flowers of benzoin
  • Phenylcarboxylic acid
  • Phenylformic acid
  • Retarder BA
  • Retardex
  • Salvo liquid and powder
  • Tenn-Plas
  • Unisept BZA


Benzoic acids are essential in the preservation of our foods and the killing of bacterial and fungal contents in our diet. The moderate consumption of Benzoic acids may not be harmful. However, excessive use of these acids has severe health risks. It is advisable to moderate our consumption rate to enhance our health.

Is benzoic acid in your food