How do ‘organic’ products, like coconut water, have long shelf lives?


Is there such thing as organic preservatives?

In: Chemistry

People used salt to preserve meats years ago before refrigeration was invented. Fats and oils also used to preserve food.

Sure. We’ve been preserving food for a long, long time. For example, honey; it’s so sugary that nothing can grow in it. Or pickled/krauting; lots of foods are simply too acidic to support harmful bacterial growth. But many foods, like coconut water, can simply be pasteurized like any other juice or beverage; that’s perfectly legal under an organic label.

There are 4 main ways to preserve food for long term storage:

1.) Change the PH enough that it is too acidic for stuff to grow
2.) Make it so there isn’t enough water in it
3.) Put it into a container that is sealed from the outside and heat it hot enough and long enough to kill off everything
4.) Add something toxic to pathogens and not to us

The first three don’t require you to add anything that isn’t a common food item, vinegar or lemon juice are common additives to lower PH, adding a bunch of salt or sugar to lower the amount of free water and packaging is not considered for organic or not.

The 4th method is one that can be organic or not depending on what is being added. Some types of preservatives are a naturally occuring mineral or a compound taken from another plant somewhere. These types preservatives aren’t actually used that often for long term storage of foods, they are used to extend shelf life but typically have limits on how long they are effective for. Bread is a good example, home baked bread will go stale and moldy in a few days but store bought bread with humectants and antifungals added will last a week or two. Both go moldy and stale in the end though.