Natamycin, also known as pimaricin, is a fungicide of the polyene macrolide group, commonly used as a biopreservative in the surface treatment of cheeses and sausages to inhibit yeasts and moulds. It also can be used in yogurt, baked goods, beverages and wines.
It is available in four types in the market, pure natamycin, 50% natamycin preparations with excipients of lactose, glucose or salt.
It is available in four types in the market, pure natamycin, 50% natamycin preparations with excipients of lactose, glucose or salt. It can be listed as a natural ingredient and natural preservative because it is made from soil bacteria. Health Canada permits its use in foods as long as it does not exceed a certain amount (10 ppm).
As with any antibiotic or anti-fungal prescription, some people may have adverse reactions to natamycin. Some of the side effects include skin rashes, skin itchiness, blisters, headaches, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Read labels carefully. Remember that manufacturers are permitted to label their product as natural and free of artificial preservatives if it contains natamycin.
Personally, I choose to buy blocks of cheese and shred it myself. It is usually more economical to do this, the taste is definitely fresher and better, and you don’t have to worry about the safety of ingesting fungicides. I am aware of an organic shredded cheese (PC brand from Superstore) that does not contain natamycin.
Here is a link to a medical doctor’s site regarding natomycin in cheese.
-Anne Deni B.Sc. FdNu, Clinical Nutritionist