Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of Sorbic Acid, chemical formula C6H7KO2. Its primary use is as a food preservative (E number 202). Potassium sorbate is effective in a variety of applications including food, wine, and personal care products.
Potassium sorbate is produced by reacting sorbic acid with an equimolar portion of potassium hydroxide. The resulting potassium sorbate may be crystallized from aqueous ethanol.
Potassium sorbate is used to inhibit molds and yeasts in many foods, such as cheese, wine, yogurt, dried meats, apple cider, soft drinks and fruit drinks, and baked goods. It can also be found in the ingredients list of many dried fruit products. In addition, herbal dietary supplement products generally contain potassium sorbate, which acts to prevent mold and microbes and to increase shelf life, and is used in quantities at which there are no known adverse health effects, over short periods of time.