Potassium Sorbate is the crystalline salt of sorbic acid that is most commonly used as food preservative. Its main purpose is to prevent many types of foods- cheese, wine, cider, meats, fish, baked goods, soft drinks or dried fruits- from developing molds or yeast, expanding their shelf life and hence reducing the risk of catching a food-borne illness. It may also be found in dietary supplements, personal care products- as a substitute for parabens-, but also among the ingredients of certain types of coatings, lubricants, plasticizers or rubber.
In view of the fact that it is cost efficient, shelf-stable and easy to use, potassium sorbate is deemed safe for consumption. However, if consumed in large quantities or together with other food additives including sodium nitrate or caffeine, it may play havoc with the body's immune system, engendering a whole array of skin, eye or respiratory conditions. People who are allergic to parabens or experience skin irritations after using products containing potassium sorbate, are strongly advised to consume organic food and look for alternative personal care products.