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The Role of Citric Acid in the Food

Citric Acid in the Food

Citric acid is a weak organic acid with the chemical formula C6H8O7, which is used in both industrial and food grades and can be found in many foods such as fruits and vegetables. It has a sour and special taste and due to its acidity, it can prevent the growth of bacteria, which is why it is used as a preservative in the food industry.

Natural Sources of Citric Acid:

We know that most people consider citrus as a source of citric acid; Like oranges, lemons and grapefruits. But it is also found in peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, and most berries.


Citric acid is added as an additive to food produced in factories. This substance has preservative effects and prevents food spoilage. For this reason, the demand for this acid by the food industry is high. It is used in the production of jellies, jams, beverages, sweet drinks, edible oils, canned goods, meat products, bread, sweets, chocolate, dairy products, etc.

This substance with its antioxidant function prevents food oxidation and effectively reduces food spoilage. In addition to the food industry, this substance is used in many other industries as the main production material.

What are some Foods that contain Citric Acid?


One of the sauces that have been used for many years is mayonnaise, which consists of eggs, vinegar, oil, and spices. This sauce is actually an oil emulsion in water. The use of citric acid in mayonnaise products as an emulsifier will have favorable effects. Mayonnaise contains isothiocyanates, which are stabilized in aqueous solutions by the addition of this organic acid. In addition to the stability of the emulsion, the right amount of this acid in the sauce kills harmful bacteria.


Meat is a very suitable environment for the activity of various microorganisms such as bacteria. Therefore, if not controlled, it will spoil quickly. Therefore, manufacturing industries intend to use methods to prevent premature spoilage of meat. Adding this organic acid to meat prevents it from spoiling.

Dairy Products:

One of the industries that are the most important consumer of citric acid in food production is the cheese production industry. Cheeses, especially mozzarella, require a certain amount of this acid to produce. The mechanism of action of this compound in the initial mixture of mozzarella cheese is based on its catalytic role in accelerating the fermentation process of milk. Thus, the faster the milk is fermented, the more milk can be used to produce more mozzarella, and the faster the cheese-making process.

use of citric acid in Dairy Products

Canned Foods:

In some canned foods, it is used as an additive due to its antibiotic properties, because it keeps the pH of the product balanced and increases its shelf life.

Frozen Foods:

As you know, frozen foods are a big part of the daily food needs of most people in the world. Certainly, the health and hygiene of these substances are of paramount importance. Citric acid completely eliminates this need. This organic acid is added to frozen food products, in addition to regulating the acidity of the environment, eliminating the activity of toxic metals, and preventing the oxidation of ascorbic acid, which is added as a flavoring to frozen products.

Uses of Citric Acid in Daily Life as a Preservative:

This acid is widely used in many industries, including the cooking and food processing industries. In the following, you will get acquainted with the most important Citric Acid Uses in the food industry.

As a Flavor Enhancer:

The sour and spicy taste that you feel when you drink and eat some carbonated drinks or foods is actually due to the addition of certain amounts of citric acid to these products. This organic acid is added as a flavoring to beverages, juices, canned foods, and other foods to increase their shelf life in addition to creating a good taste.

keep Food Fresh:

Used to keep food fresh for longer. In some cases, it may prevent food-induced botulism, a disease that can result from homemade canned foods that are low in acid.

citric acid in canned foods


Increase Durability:

Another interesting use of this acid in food products is its use as a preservative for packaged products and increases the shelf life and durability of food. Because the bacteria in food need a constant pH to survive and may be active in many closed food products and cause them to spoil over time, citric acid is added to these products. To; By adding this organic acid to food packaging such as jams, jellies, canned foods, processed packaged meat, and the like, the pH of the food environment is greatly reduced, and the ground for bacterial growth and activity. Harmful substances are eliminated.


In this article, we discuss the benefits and citric acid uses in the food industry. Of course, it should be noted that its use in the food industry should not be more than allowed by the World Health Organization, because it may cause problems for some people.

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6 thoughts on “The Role of Citric Acid in the Food

  1. Mary says:

    How do you use citric acid as a bread improver?

    1. china chemicals says:

      Citric acid reacts with the baking powder to make the dough that you use while baking your bread work better and multiplies the volume of the food.
      This is for people who can not use eggs and cream to help the fermentation and bread-making process to use citric acid instead to improve fermentation.

  2. laraa says:

    Is citric acid good for human health?

    1. china chemicals says:

      Citric acid is naturally present in foods such as citrus fruits. This compound has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are also reports of its ability to improve endothelial function and its anticoagulant properties. According to the FDA, this compound is also a safe substance and does not cause any problems.

  3. David says:

    What fruit does not have any citric acid?

    1. china chemicals says:

      Mango, Avocado, WaterMelon, Apples, Banana

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