Monday, 4 February 2019

A simple bread ingredient

Well, that's what they'd have you believe - but look it up and you'll find that calcium proprionate is a fungicide ingredient of some bread and other manufactured foods.  It stops them going mouldy.

I stated to investigate what caused my IBS after consuming a couple - or was it three? - hot cross buns last year, days - maybe even weeks after they should have grown legs and walked out of the bread bin.  I stuck them in the oven for a couple of minutes, lavished butter on them and consumed them eagerly and gratefully. 

The sense of them passing along the lower reaches of my alimentary canal was intense and I was able to track them most of the way or so it felt.  I was only free of discomfort when they had left me entirely.

The penny didn't drop until some weeks later when a fruit loaf was presented to me.  It was only after eating that and having a similar experience that I looked at the label.  And so began my practice of avoiding calcium proprionate. I can tell you that I'm convinced that when it comes to the chemical being "well-tolerated", that it isn't by me!

Some bread contains it, some biscuits, some other manufactured foodstuffs.  A lot of bread doesn't include it (so why is it necessary at all?!) and as a general rule (useful when presented with a buffet) French sticks are a safe bet. 

Of course it makes sense. You have a gut full of lovely bacteria and into that you put a fungicide. Is it any surprise there are resulting problems? 


  1. How does a fungicide work in bread when yeast is a fungus?

  2. That's a very good question. It seems that it doesn't affect yeast-based leavening, but it does have an effect on non-yeast leavening, when sodium proprionate is indicated.