Consumers’ criteria for evaluating food safety have evolved recently from considering the food's potential to cause immediate physical harm to considering the potential long-term effects that consumption of artificial ingredients, including antimicrobial preservatives, would have on health. As bacteriostatic and bactericidal agents to prevent microbial spoilage, antimicrobials not only extend shelf life, but they also enhance the product's safety. Antimicrobials and their levels that may be used in foods are specified by regulatory agencies. This review addresses the safety of antimicrobials and the potential consequences of removing those that are chemically synthesized or replacing them with antimicrobials from so-called natural sources. Such changes can affect the microbiological safety and spoilage of food as well as reduce shelf life, increase wastage, and increase the occurrence of foodborne illnesses.


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