The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a final rule, effective May 6, 2013, that amends federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to remove sodium benzoate, sodium propionate and benzoic acid from the list of substances prohibited for use in meat or poultry products.

According to FSIS, after considering the comments and petitions it received, as well as confirming that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had no objections to the safety of the substances, the agency has determined “that sodium benzoate, sodium propionate, and benzoic acid, under the conditions proposed in the petitions, are both safe and suitable for use as antimicrobial agents in certain RTE [ready-to-eat] meat and poultry products.”

FSIS said that new uses of these substances in meat or poultry products will continue to be approved by FDA for safety and by FSIS for suitability. See Federal Register, March 7, 2013.