What is the function of acidity regulators in the food industry and what is the significance of pH?

The pH of a food is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a given product. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14 . A pH below 7 is acidic , a pH of 7 is neutral , and a pH above 7 is basic (alkaline) . Our taste buds can only detect large differences in pH within complex food systems. An acidic product would taste sour, while a basic product would taste bitter. Some examples of acidic foods are citrus fruits (eg orange, lemon, grapefruit), juices or yogurt. We have prepared a detailed article for you about lemons , where you will learn everything important. Examples of alkaline foods include egg whites and baking soda.

Acidity regulators are used to alter and control acidity or alkalinity at a specific level important to food processing, taste and safety.

It may seem like a negligible parameter, but maintaining the appropriate pH is the first step to ensure food safety and longer shelf life . Insufficient pH control can lead to the growth of unwanted bacteria in the product, which could pose a potential health risk.

Cucumbers, artichokes, cauliflower, peppers, and fish are examples of low-acid foods that are commonly acidified. If acidification is not adequately controlled at a pH of 4.6 or below , Clostridium botulinum, a dangerous toxin-producing microorganism, can grow in certain foods.

For example, yogurt is fermented until its pH reaches 4.4 to 4.6 . Bread must have a pH of 4.0 to 5.8 to ensure that pathogens do not multiply. Otherwise, it must be stored below 5°C, which is not practical in some countries. Mayonnaise and other sauces are kept at a pH of around 4.1 to extend their shelf life.

In which foods can we find acidity regulators?

  • canned vegetables
  • fruit pastes
  • jams
  • sweets
  • ketchup

Are acidity regulators safe?

Within reason, acidity regulators are not harmful. However, in excessive amounts, they can cause tooth erosion and upset stomach . Allergies to acidity regulators, such as citric acid, are also known.