Preservatives in Canned Meat and Their Potential Human Health Concerns: A Review

  • Raed Mohammed Khalaf Al-Zaidi Department of Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Engineering Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Mayson Thafir Hadi Department of Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Engineering Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Eman J. Al-Attar Department of Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Engineering Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Arwa Mudhafar Khaleel Department of Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Engineering Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Keywords: preservatives, canned meat, food safety, human health


Preservatives are the most popular food enhancers for preserving food freshness and extending its shelf life. Preservatives are frequently added to processed foods, so they are crucial to ensuring that the food remains fresh for a longer period of time. Several types of food preservatives are available currently some are manufactured while others occur naturally. Meat is one of the most important types of food that is disposed to chemical or enzymatic damage, especially after its manufacture as a result of the breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, which in turn causes the emergence of undesirable and unhealthy changes in smell, flavor and texture, making it unsuitable for human consumption. Among the substances allowed to be used as preservatives for canned meat are sodium acetates, nitrites, nitrates, sorbates, and sulphites. The current review aims to summarize the most important preservatives used in canned meat and indicate their potential negative impact human health.


Al-Azzawi, M.N., & Al-Ani, L.H. (2014). Determination of heavy metals in imported canned fish that sold in Baghdad markets. Iraqi Journal of Science, 55(2B), 675-684.

Czarniecka-Skubina, E., & Pielak, M. (2017). Żywność tradycyjna versus żywność wytwarzana przy zastosowaniu nowoczesnych technologii. Zeszyty Naukowe Uczelni Vistula, (54(3) Turystyka III), 165-178.

Piwowarczyk, L. (2014). Clean Label–co właściwie oznacza. Wiedza i Jakość, 35(2), 8-9.

Jawher, I. M., & Hassan, M. G. (2022). Detection of some virulence genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from meat at Mosul city. Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 36(5 Supplement I).

Ibrahim, A. B. (2023). Study on the effectiveness of adding some plant extracts with BHT on meat quality of lamb patties during chilling storage. Iraqi Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 54(1), 147-155.

Abed, I. J., Ahmed, M. E., & MH AL-Shimmary, S. (2021). Rosemary volatile oil as a preservative agent in some canned meat foods. Iraqi Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 52(1).

Salman, Z. O., Alwash, B. M. J., & Kadhim, E. J. (2019). Effect of essential oil of Cestrum nocturnum flowers cultivated in Iraq as antioxidant and elongation cold storage period of minced meat. Iraqi Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 50(2).

Hadab, N. S., & Dakheel, M. M. (2022). Application of pomegranate pomace as a natural antibacterial and antioxidant preservative in beef. Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 36, 211-216.

Al-Mahmood, O. A. (2023). Food safety and sanitation practices survey in very small halal and non-halal beef slaughterhouses in the United States. Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 37(1), 1-7.

Smoley, C. K. (1993). Everything added to food in the United States. US Food and Drug Administration, 31.

Faustman, C., & Cassens, R. G. (1990). The biochemical basis for discoloration in fresh meat: a review. Journal of Muscle Foods, 1(3), 217-243.

Heinz, G., & Hautzinger, P. (2007). Meat processing technology for small-to medium-scale producers. RAP Publication 2007/20. FAO, Bangkok.

Pressman, P., Clemens, R., Hayes, W., & Reddy, C. (2017). Food additive safety: A review of toxicologic and regulatory issues. Toxicology Research and Application, 1.

Moszyński, K. (1967). Kultura ludowa Słowian: kultura materialna (Vol. 1). Ksia̜źka i Wiedza.

Pisula, A., Pospiech, E., & Wiejskiego, S.G.G. (Eds.) (2011). Mięso: podstawy nauki i technologii. Wydawnictwo SGGW.

Rahman, M.S. (Ed.). (2007). Handbook of food preservation. CRC press.

Long, N.B.S., Gál, R., & Buňka, F. (2011). Use of phosphates in meat products. African Journal of Biotechnology, 10(86), 19874-19882.

World Health Organization. (2000). Benzoic acid and sodium benzoate.

Bajcic, A., Petronijevic, R.B., Sefer, M., Trbovic, D., Djordjevic, V., Ciric, J., & Nikolic, A. (2021). Sorbates and benzoates in meat and meat products: Importance, application and determination. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 854, No. 1, p. 012005). IOP Publishing.

US-FDA, C.F.S.A.N. (1982). Toxicological principles for the safety assessment of direct food additives and color additives used in food. Redbook.

Food and Drug Administration. Microbiological considerations for antimicrobial food additive submissions [Accessed 2 March 2020] 2008.

UK Food Standards Agency. (2011). Current EU approved additives and their E Numbers.

EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) (2012). Guidance for submission for food additive evaluations. EFSA Journal, 10(7), 2760.

Thakore, K.N. (2014). Butylated Hydroxytoluene. Encyclopedia of Toxicology: Third Edition, 583-584.

EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP), Rychen, G., Aquilina, G., Azimonti, G., Bampidis, V., et al. (2018). Safety and efficacy of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) as a feed additive for all animal species. EFSA Journal, 16(3), e05215.

Wang, X., Nag, R., Brunton, N.P., Siddique, M.A.B., Harrison, S.M., Monahan, F.J., & Cummins, E. (2022). Human health risk assessment of bisphenol A (BPA) through meat products. Environmental Research, 213, 113734.

Ferysiuk, K., & Wójciak, K.M. (2020). Reduction of nitrite in meat products through the application of various plant-based ingredients. Antioxidants, 9(8), 711.

Karwowska, M., & Kononiuk, A. (2020). Nitrates/nitrites in food—Risk for nitrosative stress and benefits. Antioxidants, 9(3), 241.

Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/268 of 26 February (2020). Amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the use of sorbic acid (E 200) in liquid colour preparations for the decorative colouring of egg shells (Text with EEA relevance) © EUR-Lex, 27/02/2020,

Wood, R., Foster, L., Damant, A., & Key, P. (2004). Analytical methods for food additives. Elsevier.

Nair, M.S., Nair, D.V., Johny, A.K., & Venkitanarayanan, K. (2020). Use of food preservatives and additives in meat and their detection techniques. In Meat quality analysis (pp. 187-213). Academic Press.

Shahid, M., Alwan, N.A., & Al-Masoudi, E.A. (2018). A study of toxic effect of sodium benzoate, vit. C alone and their combination on reproductive functions of adult male rabbits. Basrah Journal of Veterinary Research, 17(3), 533-543.

Al-Ameen, S.A., Jirjees, E.H., & Tawfeeq, F.K. (2022). Effect of sodium benzoate on some biochemical, physiological and histopathological aspects in adult male rats. Iraqi Journal of Veterinary Sciences, 36(2), 267-272.

How to Cite
Al-Zaidi, R. M. K., Hadi, M. T., Al-Attar, E. J., & Khaleel, A. M. (2023). Preservatives in Canned Meat and Their Potential Human Health Concerns: A Review. Earthline Journal of Chemical Sciences, 11(1), 163-172.