Formic acid is a naturally occurring acid used as a preservative. It is typically commercially produced for industry use via chemical reaction. It may be added directly to food to prevent microorganism growth, but is also used to treat livestock feed.

Health considerations

Formic acid is toxic at high doses but very readily metabolized and eliminated in small concentrations. High concentrations can cause allergic reactions and have a diuretic effect.

Keep in mind

Formic acid is rarely used due to its smell and quantity will be controlled when it is used.

May be found in

Beverages, sweets, bakery products, ice cream


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Alternative Spellings and Names

Methanoic acid, E236

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