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Environment / Food / Health

Pesticides and Preservatives

Pesticides and Preservatives

Pesticides are used to keep away Pests affecting the plants and food items whereas Preservatives are used to preserve Food Stuff, Wood and other materials from decay. Both are chemicals.


Pesticides are chemicals and often poisonous which keep away pests from affecting the food items, plants, trees and vegetation. They either kill the pests or repel them.

Pesticides are sprayed and/or added in the form of fertilizers while producing crop and vegetables. Sometimes Pesticides are also used in wholesale and retail outlets to keep pests away from food and vegetable items.

Vegetable especially have to be washed thoroughly before using them. Other food items in the form of grains should also be cleaned and washed properly before using them to avoid health issues.


Preservatives keep the Food Items and Wood Work free from contamination when they are exposed in the environment. They are also chemicals but not entirely poisonous. There are some preservatives which when used in excess quantities can be harmful.

The most common Preservatives are Salt, Nitrates (Sodium Nitrates), Sulfites, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Benzoate and Benzene. Butylated Hydroxy Anisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxy Toluene (BHT) are also preservatives.

If you look at the ingredients list of any processed food, you can see there are one or more of the preservatives. They are added to keep the food items fresh and live for a longer period. But not all of them are good for health when used continuously.

According to experts, if possible, the following are Top 5 Food Preservatives to be avoided in processed food.

  1. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite – Chemicals normally used to keep preserve meat and give them a vibrant colour
  2. BHA and BHT – These are Preservatives used for extending the Shelf Life of food items
  3. Potassium Bromate – A Preservative used to increase the volume in Bread, Rolls and Flour
  4. High Fructose Corn Syrup (Corn Sugar, Fruit Fructose, Iso-Glucose) – They are highly refined sweetener made from Corn Starch
  5. Trans Fat or Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (like Soy, Palm, Corn oils) – They are created by blasting fat like Corn, Soybean or Palm Oil with Hydrogen and converted into Solid Form

Other Chemicals

Though not preservatives, Artificial Food Colouring substances or Food Dyes are also not good and should be avoided as far as we can.

Chemicals like Blue 1, Blue 2 (E133), Green 3, Red 3, Red 40 and Yellow 6 (E110), Yellow Tartrazine (E102) should be avoided. They are used to make food items look bright and colourful.

Artificial Sweeteners like Aspartame, Equal, Sucralose, Splenda, Saccharin, Sweet N Low, NutraSweet are used to add sweetness to food without added calories.

Monosodium Glutamate are Amino Acid used as flavour-enhancer in processed food. They make food items more Addicting. These are some of them.

  • Yeast Extract
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
  • Vegetable Protein Extract
  • Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Textured Protein
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Barley Malt
  • Calcium Caseinate
  • Malt Extract

Live Healthy, Live Safe. Control the usage of Pesticides and Preservatives. Switch to Organic Food items.

Read more about Worst Food Preservatives here

Disclaimer: Information gathered from various sources.

Picture used for illustration only – Credit: Predag Paunovic

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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